City Councillor Michelle Young was appointed as Deputy Mayor for a term of two months during the April 21 Regular Meeting of Council.
As decided by city council, each councillor is assigned a six-month term serving as deputy mayor, and an additional two months leading up to the election.
“This time, I know that everything I’m going to be doing likely for this two-month term is going to be COVID-19 related,” Young said.
“Participating in meetings, having calls with Mayor Chalmers, trying to figure out how things reopen, and doing what we’re doing right now,” she said.
As deputy mayor, Young is required to attend meetings, attend local events post COVID-19, be an aide to Mayor Chalmers, all while continuing with regular responsibilities as a city councillor and sitting on local boards, and committees.
Young previously served as deputy mayor from April 2018 to October 2018 and is now serving her two-month term.
“There was a lot of filling in at events, and speaking engagements, which is always an honour, and that type of stuff is fun and engaging with the community. This time there is still community engagement it’s just very different,” Young said.
“Filling in that term was more event focused,” she said.
Adding, “Now, it’s more trying to keep the information flowing, staying connected with residents, making sure that they are getting the information that they wanted, and that they feel like they are being heard.”
Although the type of work Young and members of city council do has changed, the workload has not changed.
“The event aspect has definitely lessened because there is none, which is very strange. Usually, that brings a nice healthy balance to the meetings and the work part of it,” Young said.
“The event part of it is the gravy, getting to touch base with the community,” she said.
There was also a delay on meetings while the appropriate software needed was installed.
However, now all meetings, committees, and boards have commenced.
“During the time that we weren’t having meetings, all of us kept up the workload with resident communication,” Young said.
“During any kind of local state of emergency, pandemic, or otherwise, councils’ main goal, as I see it, is to try to keep residents calm and informed,” she said.
“We were busier with that, trying to keep information flowing, what were the numbers, what’s open, and what’s closed,” she added. “The work didn’t lessen, the work changed.”
In the past weeks, Young has experienced an increase in residents reaching out to receive COVID-19 information.
“Some people will message or call, and they lead with an apology, people forget that this is our job,” Young said.
“Aside from attending meetings and making decisions, those are more structured type things, in a time of crisis being accessible to the public to help them either get an answer or provide them with information is our job,” she said.
“I wanted this job to be helpful and to make a difference, and in the middle of a global pandemic, there is nothing to do. There’s nothing that I’m going to do today that is going to find a cure, or make it better, so being able to answer questions from residents, and connect with them like that, provide them with answers, and even just talk with them makes me feel like I’m doing something.
“The busyness has been appreciated on my behalf,” she said.
Moving forward, Young is going to keep the lines of communication open with residents, ensuring they are receiving information in a timely fashion, keeping them in the loop on what’s going on in the community, and what the restrictions are while bringing positivity to the community.
“I’m flattered and honoured that my colleagues put my name forward to serve now,” Young added. “I welcome the work, and I’m happy to have the opportunity to serve.”