Warden Barfoot

Grey County Council has a new leader for 2016. Alan Barfoot was acclaimed the 2016 Grey County Warden by his fellow councillors on December 1 at the annual inaugural session of council.
"I'm honoured to be elected to the position of Grey County Warden. It's a big responsibility and I will strive to fulfill the duties to the best of my ability," said Warden Barfoot. "I look forward to working with  Council, county staff, and other stakeholders to move Grey County forward together. We live in the best county, in the best province, and in the best country in the world."
Warden Barfoot was nominated by County Councillors Gail Ardiel and Harley Greenfield and was unopposed for the position. Councillor Greenfield highlighted Warden Barfoot's municipal work and his strong leadership on a variety of important delegations during his career.
Barfoot has been a Grey County Councillor since 2004. He was Chair of the Transportation and Public Safety Committee from 2010-2012 and again from 2014-2015 and has sat on multiple committees during his term. He entered municipal government as a Councillor for the former Derby Township in 1991 and was elected Mayor of Georgian Bluffs in the fall of 2006.
"Economic development for our region must be maintained as one of our top priorities," said Warden Barfoot in his inaugural address. "We must continue to make the County an attractive place to invest and do business. We need to ensure there are education and economic opportunities for our young people and young families."
Barfoot recently retired from Parmalat Canada and lives near Kilsyth with his Wife, Karen. They have four children and three grandchildren.
The Warden is the head of Grey County Council and represents Grey County on the Western Ontario Wardens' Caucus. The Warden is elected to a one-year term each December.
The full text of Warden Barfoot's inaugural address can be found below.


Good evening fellow County Councilors, family, friends, ladies and gentlemen. Please accept my sincere thanks for your confidence in electing me to the honored position of Grey County Warden. A special thank you goes out to my nominators Harley Greenfield and Gail Ardiel.
One year ago, this group of County Councilors elected Kevin Eccles as Warden. Kevin, your experience in the Warden's chair was invaluable. On behalf of all of us around the Council table, I'd like to thank you for your guidance and leadership over the past year.
The Municipal Act defines the position of "Warden" as the leader of County government and its official representative. These are big responsibilities and I will strive to fulfill them to the best of my ability. I look forward to working with each of you, our County staff, as well as provincial representatives and other stakeholders.
Since first being elected as a County Councilor in 2004 and during my private sector career, I have had the opportunity to observe many different styles of leadership. I have come to firmly believe that the key to success is teamwork. By working together as a County Council, Grey County can be successful in reaching its goals. As Head of Council, my commitment to you is that I will listen to your perspectives, provide my point of view and support decision making that moves us forward together.
As you are only too aware, the requirements and expectations placed upon us are many. The nature of our work and the way we do things here at the County has had to evolve in response to changing needs and expectations. I have been very pleased to see growing collaboration between departments and greater consultation with our local government colleagues. As government, we are in the customer service industry, and we have a responsibility to always pay attention to making sure the experience that our local municipalities and residents is the best that it can be. During my term as Warden, I hope further improvements here can be a goal in each of our committees and for Council as a whole.
Economic development for our region must be maintained as one of our top priorities. To achieve this, we must continue to make the County an attractive place to invest and do business in. We need to ensure there are education and economic opportunities for our young people and young families. We need to understand the needs of our existing business community and to welcome entrepreneurs and innovation.
In recent years, Grey County has played a leadership role in creating the conditions for business to succeed, like making investments to address gaps in high speed internet service, streamlining planning processes, investing in transportation infrastructure and advocating for the economic needs of southwestern Ontario via the Western Ontario Wardens Caucus. I want to work with you to grow our Grey County economy and ensure all stakeholders are aware of the opportunities for investment in our communities.
Grey County's corporate strategic plan is due for renewal in 2016. I look forward to Council and staff working together on this very important task. With the addition of our new CAO, I know we can achieve this.
Beyond those initiatives already mentioned, we have important considerations, including the future direction for our long-term care facilities, the implementation of the transportation master plan, renovating the County administration building to include the provincial offences courts, to name just a few. The list of issues is long, and will continue to grow; I look forward to working through these with all of you and making the best informed decisions that we can.

The phrase that I am about to make has been stated by many prominent people, but still stands true today. "We live in the best County, in the best Province, and in the best Country in the world."
For those of you who know me, I'm not big on long detailed speeches; give me a job and I will get it done.
My commitment is "I will do my best."
Thank you again for this honor, I look forward to the year ahead.
Alan Barfoot

source: media release, County of Grey


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