"It's been fun." That comment from the outgoing Mayor for the City of Morden, Brandon Burley.
Burley announced suddenly on Thursday that, after leading the City for the last five years, he was resigning from the post. "I have come to recognize the significant responsibility I have towards my family's own transformational growth years," said Burley in a statement released by the City on Thursday.
"The thing I will carry with me, I think, for the rest of my life is the passion and the heart of this community," added Burley in an interview with PembinaValleyOnline. "The individual challenges and the problems or the opportunities will come and go, but the thing that has remained constant despite the challenges of things like COVID-19, was the immensity of the pride and their ability to come together and work together. That was something, I will admit, I was somewhat surprised by. But those are the things, when every other thing has been forgotten, that's what I will remember."
Morden underwent unprecedented transformation and significant growth during Burley's tenure as Mayor, and he says he is grateful for the councils he's had the privilege of working with over the last five years. Together, Burley noted, they were able to meet head-on various challenges like the pandemic, budgetary constraints and rebuilding the City's senior management team.
"I leave the city now and it's one of the most stable municipal organizations in the province," he said. "The Council is working together very well, and I leave with strong, strong candidates for leadership on Council right now. When I made this decision, I never had any fear that my absence would be missed or that the organization would fail because I wasn't there, and that's what you want when you build something. You want it to be able to succeed without you, and I have every confidence in the administrative team we have built and the capacities of Council to understand and grow the organization and the City."
Pending confirmation of details, the City will initiate a by-election process to fill the vacancy created by Burley's resignation. The City will provide additional information regarding the by-election in due course.
Asked whether he had any advice for his eventual successor, Burley offered this.
"My advice would be to care about people first. Nothing else matters if you don't have a heart for the people, get out and meet them where they are, understand their problems and their challenges and be a people person. It's only when you understand people that you can understand their challenges, and only when you understand their challenges can you ever hope to provide anything that resembles a solution."
The day after Burley announced his resignation, Premier-designate, Wab Kinew, announced he would be joining his 11-member transition advisory team as he prepares to take over the Premiership of the province.
"He called me and said, 'Hey, would you like to be on our Transitional Advisory Council?' I said, sure. That was the extent of it."
Burley added, this new role is a great opportunity to help ready the launch pad of Manitoba's incoming government.
"Certainly, coming in with municipal experience as well as experience in housing and southern Manitoba, I provide a perspective that I think will help form early decision making around issues and priorities. But also, I think it's an opportunity to represent the interests of municipalities across Manitoba," he said. "I bring a perspective there that I think will help empower the government to build relationships effectively with municipalities."
~ With files from Robyn Wiebe ~
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