‘Too many things slipping through cracks’: Williams

October 15, 2014   ·   0 Comments

When Councillor Jeremy Williams announced himself as a mayoral candidate in the October 27 municipal election, it came as a shock and surprise to many. But with supporters from around the town, he has pledged that making Orangeville an even better town to live in is his ultimate goal.

His history with the town is long-standing, much as that of incumbent Mayor Rob Adams. Unlike Mr. Adams however, his official political history within the town has been much shorter, with just one term under his belt.

Councillor Williams’ passion for Orangeville traces back to his roots in the area. He grew up in Hockley Valley, and while he attended high school in Alliston, Orangeville always felt more like home. His family did their shopping here, came to events here, and he says it was simply where his heart was.

His father, Stewart Williams, served on Adjala Township council for many years, sparking an interest in politics for Mr. Williams at a young age.

“Even though I didn’t get actively involved until this past term, I was always interested and learning about it,” he said. “Many members of my family have been involved in politics at different levels over the years, so it was a high interest for me.”

The big question on many people’s minds has been why Councillor Williams would make the leap from councillor to Mayor after such a short history in local politics.

“It seems to be pretty common to have people ask me why I would go for Mayor after only one term as a councillor,” he said.  “But one term as councillor is four years, and that’s not a short period of time. It’s long enough to understand how the town works and come to learn the needs of the town.”

He added that while it may seem to some as him jumping the gun, his term as a councillor has been spent getting involved in the town, in issues facing the town, and working toward improving Orangeville and supporting the community.

“As a councillor, I have been given a responsibility to represent the citizens of Orangeville,” he said. “I have to try and see what the best thing I can do for the people of Orangeville is, and at this point, it means running for mayor. You have to take a step forward sometime.”

Although he says that earlier in the year he  did not have any intention of running for the position, he chose to submit his name after Mayor Adams responded to some situations in a way he felt was not conducive to good leadership.

“I saw some things happening, and I didn’t like the direction that the current mayor was going in,” he explained. “I felt that if I didn’t step up and challenge him, then no one would. I really didn’t feel comfortable spending another four years underneath his administration. I just saw too many things slipping through the cracks.”

One of the things he felt was slipping was the situation involving the Orangeville Police Association (OPA) and the Orangeville Police Services Board (OPSB), of which Mayor Adams is a member. He says that late last year, the relationship between the OPA and PSB was all but severed when communication came to a complete stop.

“The situation was not handled well at all,” said Councillor Williams. “It escalated because of the lack of communication, and really made the situation a whole lot worse with our police service in town.”

Since the beginning of his term, Councillor Williams has fought hard to convince council to move forward with an OPP costing report, not because he is in support of OPP over the Orangeville Police Service, but because he wants to see what would best serve the town.

“I would like to see the issues with the Orangeville Police Service resolved, and I believe they can be,” he said. “But I also want to look at all of our options and determine what is the best way to serve the people, whether it’s continuing with the OPS, bringing in the OPP or establishing a county-wide police force.”

Councillor Williams believes that the things he has learned in life, through business and politics, have also prepared him for the role of Mayor. (He describes himself as the owner of an asset management company that primarily owns real estate.)

“I know that I have the skill set required to make a good mayor,” he said. “I’ve been in business for myself virtually since the beginning of my career. I’m used to managing people and I’m used to managing assets and resources. My four years on council have given me a strong understanding of what’s going on and how things work in the town.”

Working out the issues with the OPA is something that falls in line with his entire platform, which is about working to continually make things better in Orangeville. It’s a task that Councillor Williams is confident he is ready to take on.

“It’s about being there and involved, rolling up my sleeves and working hard,” he said. “I’m extremely ready; I couldn’t be more ready. There are a number of things I would like to accomplish if I get in, and I’m ready to start on them.”

Since the beginning of his campaign, he has been adamant about the idea that he feels the position of mayor requires a full-time commitment, rather than the part-time job definition. If elected, he has committed to following through with that idea. He believes that his goals, commitment and passion for the town are what makes him a strong choice for the position.

“What is really needed to be a good mayor is someone who is really going to be there, someone whose heart is in the right place, and someone who is passionate about making positive changes for the town,” he said. “I know I’ve got that. I’ve spent the last four years being as involved as I can in working towards those changes, and I will continue to do so.”

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