Whether elected by the population or by his peers, the role of the Warden remains essentially the same. If there is a distinction to be made, it is mainly in terms of commitment: the Warden appointed by his peers must divide his time between his mayoral responsibilities and those of County Warden, while the Warden elected by the population works exclusively for the MRC.
Also, when chosen by the council members, the Warden’s term of office is two years, while that of an elected Warden is four years.
In my previous article entitled: “Warden Elected by Universal Suffrage: a Good Investment”? (Pontiac Journal, 2017-08-16, p.18), I touched upon the function of County Warden. To my knowledge, there is no written job description for the position, but since this is a topic of interest to MRC Pontiac voters who will be choosing their Warden for the first time this year, I want to remind everyone of the role of the Warden and the skills or qualities that would serve him or her well in discharging the duties of the position.
A good Warden must be a visionary, pragmatic, and capable of executing a vision. He must be present in all forums to defend projects and mobilize local, regional, provincial and federal elected representatives, and even attract investors. He is also called upon to pilot important development projects. Therefore, the Warden must be a good leader, in other words:
Be a good communicator: Communications skills, which include attentive listening skills, are the most important qualities of the leader. As the primary spokesperson for the MRC, the Warden must be able to clearly communicate a vision or complex projects, in English and in French, to reach all audiences, including the different levels of government.
Inspire confidence: Saying one thing and doing another never works. To rally people to a cause, the Warden must be consistent in his words and actions. Public trust and his credibility with mayors and senior levels of government depend on it.
Be available: There is no overlooking the fact that the job of Warden is not limited to 35 hours a week. He or she may be called upon at any time to answer questions from the public and the media, or be expected to travel or attend a meeting at a moment’s notice.
In summary, this job is not easy. The Warden must be a good administrator and a politician, an effective negotiator and conflict manager. But above all, the Warden must have the future of the Pontiac at heart and be able to fully commit to the task.
More information on the Warden Elected by Universal Suffrage is available on the MRC Pontiac website at www.mrcpontiac.qc.ca.