By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
Durham Region has its first female regional chair and CEO in the history of the municipality.
Uxbridge Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor was unanimously appointed to the position on April 11 after the passing of Roger Anderson in March
No other nominations were brought forward.
O’Connor is currently in her 29th year as the head of Uxbridge’s council and 34th as an elected official.
First elected as a local councillor in 1980, O’Connor became a regional councillor in 1982 before moving into the role of mayor in 1985. It’s a position she has held consistently, save for a break between 2006 and 2010.
She has also sat as the chair of the region’s economic development and planning committee for the past 17 years.
According to a media release, it was O’Connor’s time as a newspaper reporter in Uxbridge when she developed an interest in local politics.
With her appointment, she also assumes Anderson’s position on a number of regional and provincial committees.
O’Connor yielded the chair position of the Durham Police Services Board to Pickering Councillor Kevin Ashe and Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan will also stand in as Durham’s representative on Toronto Global, an organization that receives federal, provincial and municipal funding with the mandate of attracting international businesses to the GTA.
These were both roles held by Anderson prior to his death.
“I want to say a huge thank you for the privilege you’ve given me to finish off my 34 years as a member of council in this fashion. I will never be able to fill Roger’s shoes, but I will make a commitment to do the best job to the best of my ability,” O’Connor said, noting she was accepting the position with a hint of sadness.
“I think everybody knows we never wanted to be in this position,” she added.
She will be officially sworn into the office at a future meeting and vacate her local and regional councillor seat.
Her term as regional chair and CEO will run until Nov. 30, 2018. O’ Connor will be the region’s fifth regional chair in the municipality’s history.