By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Bashaw Star
When the Town of Bashaw council meets again, it will be with a new mayor and new council.
The only familiar face returning to council will be the new mayor, Rob McDonald. A three-term councillor, he put his name in for mayor in the 2021 municipal election and, being unchallenged, was acclaimed on nomination day in September.
“It’s hard not to take that as a huge compliment,” said McDonald.
“I can only see it that people looked at my volunteering for that and said ‘yup, that’s the guy that can do the job for us,’ and nobody felt they can do a better job, I guess. I take it as a vote of confidence, and I’m going to do my best to live up to that.”
According to McDonald, the first few months are going to be a “steep learning curve ” for the new councillors. To help ease the transition, and per Town of Bashaw bylaw, all new councillors will be required to take orientation training through the county in November.
“I first took (the training) when I was first elected to council years ago, and it is incredibly valuable,” said McDonald.
“There is a lot to this job that you don’t see until you are inside of it. There is a whole lot more to what you can’t do than what you can, and that is what a new councillor has to learn.”
Priorities for McDonald and the new council will be being fiscally responsible and navigating staff turnover happening in the town.
“The number one priority is to be smart with other people’s money,” said McDonald.
“There’s (also) some staff turnover going on right now we have to address. The public works foreman is in the process of retiring after quite a long career with the town … and there are new faces in the office. We’re trying to keep things running smoothly and trying to keep costs down.”
McDonald was first elected as a councillor in two back-to-back three-year terms in 2007, then ran again in the 2018 election, before putting his name in for the mayoral seat. One of the strongest things he says he brings to the council table is “a good dose of common sense.”
“This is other people’s money we have been entrusted to look after,” said McDonald.
“If you start from there, it guides you to making better decisions. Maybe not always the right decisions, but the best decisions you can make with the information you have at the time.”
Joining McDonald as the Town of Bashaw council, with the unofficial results of the Oct. 18 election, will be Jackie Northey, Bryan Gust, Kyle McIntosh, and Cindy Orom, a group whom McDonald hopes to continue working well with.
“I’ve worked with an extraordinary group of councillors since I was first elected in 2007,” said McDonald.
“I’ve had two incredible mayors in Penny Shantz and Bob Cammidge. We’ve always been able to discuss things rationally. We’ve always been able to discuss things that are the best for Bashaw. I hope that carries forward.”