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Orangeville’s chain of office missing

December 6, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Baker

There was one notable absence at Town Hall this week as Orangeville officially welcomed a brand new council.

An inauguration ceremony, led by Ontario Court Justice Richard Schwarzl, was well attended by the public, with about 150 residents inside the town hall’s Opera House to get a look at the seven individuals elected to lead the community forward over the next four years. One thing they didn’t catch a glimpse of was the ceremonial municipal chain of office, typically worn by the mayor.

According to Town Clerk Susan Greatrix, the chain is currently missing and has been for at least a month. She says former mayor Jeremy Williams was the last person known to have been in possession of the chain, but that staff was “unaware” of when it was last worn or used.

“The mayor was reminded about the chain of office for the Remembrance Day ceremony. He did not wear it and staff have been asking about it and looking for it since then, particularly as the inaugural meeting date approached,” Ms. Greatrix said. “Mayor Williams advised several times that the chain of office is at Town Hall. Staff have thoroughly searched the mayor’s and administrative offices, but have not been able to locate it.”

Ms. Greatrix noted the chain has traditionally been kept in a protective case in the mayor’s office, so that it is available at the mayor’s convenience. The chain of office, otherwise known as a livery collar, is typically used as a symbol to officially welcome a new mayor to office. The mayor is usually expected to wear the chain to all council meetings and ceremonial occasions when appearing in their official capacity.

While previous mayors of Orangeville, notably Rob Adams, made it a point to regularly wear the chain of office at all official meetings and appearances, Jeremy Williams was scant with his use of the municipal chain.

When asked by the Citizen when he last used the chain of office, Mr. Williams stated “it’s been months”, later adding “it was kept at Town Hall except for very rare occasions”.

This is the first time anyone at Town Hall can recall that Orangeville’s chain of office has gone missing. According to Ms. Greatrix, the chain has been used in Orangeville since at least 1988 and pre-dates almost everyone currently employed by the Town. It is unknown how much the municipality paid to have the chain made, while Ms. Greatrix said it would be difficult to estimate its current value. Should it remain missing, police will likely become involved.

“If the chain cannot be located, it may be reported to the police as possibly having been stolen from Town Hall,” Ms. Greatrix said.

If that eventuality were to pass, the municipality would be forced to order a new chain. While Ms. Greatrix said it is unknown how much a new chain would cost, it would likely be in the thousands of dollars. Whitchurch-Stouffville paid $1,949 for a new chain in 2017, while the City of Mississauga paid $13,500 for a new chain in 2014. In 2015, Peel Region taxpayers paid $4,559 for a new chain of office.

Ms. Greatrix provided no time frame for when a replacement would be forthcoming, noting the chain would be custom-made. In any case, it will likely be some time before local residents can expect to see new Mayor Sandy Brown sporting municipal bling at council and in public.

         

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