A New Year and a New Beginning

Dear friends,

I can hardly put into words just how exciting my first month as a City Councillor has been, but I will try. I believe that most Londoners knew that there would be a steep learning curve for those of us who were newly elected.  Steep, I don’t know if that was an accurate description.  I think I heard it best from Mayor Matt Brown – “The first little while is like… trying to take a drink… from a fire hydrant… with a straw.”

My desk is stacked high with reports and recommendations.  All highlighted and marked up with red pen for the questions I want to ask.  That being said, the staff have been great.  Almost daily I contact different departments and ask for time to help me to understand history and context on upcoming and emerging issues.  The staff here have been great in regards to follow-up and giving me the information.  As always, I end these meetings with “What question should I be asking that I’m not?” Routinely the staff are happy to point out areas of interest, and suggest some of those secondary questions that I hadn’t thought to ask yet.  As I continue to work through the reports and business before me, I know that I will gain comprehension at a faster rate; but for now I am content to spend the time and ask the questions that need to be asked to make sure that when I am making decisions that impact you, I have all of the information I need to make the best decision that I can.

Many of you have contacted me and offered some sage advice around time management and encouraging me to ensure I spend enough time with my family.  Being your City Councillor is a big job.  And in order to do it well, certainly, one must devote time to research, preparation, community groups, constituents, correspondence, events, committee and council meetings.  After being elected, and after a thorough discussion with my family, I entered into negotiations with my employer.  To find that time for family, personal and council obligations, I have made the decision to take a one-year unpaid Leave of Absence from work.  This leave will allow me see my children off to school each morning and to spend the time needed in the community and at City Hall working hard for our community.

Over the past few weeks, I have reached out to all area schools, several community/faith organizations, and our Provincial and Federal representatives – Minister Ed Holder and Member of Provincial Parliament Peggy Sattler.  Both of these individuals are committed to working collaboratively with me for the best interest of our community.

As the Councillor in Ward 10, I feel that being an active part of the community allows for ongoing opportunities to really hear the needs of the community.  I was pleased to accept invitations from Saunders Secondary School to speak to their Grade 10 Civics Classes and Grade 12 Politics Class. In February I will be attending a PTA meeting at ST. Jude’s Catholic Elementary School.  I will continue to make myself available to meet with individuals and groups about issues that affect Ward 10. As always, please call or email me at anytime.

On December 9, 2014 the appointments for Committees, Boards, Agencies and Commissions occurred during our regular council meeting.  I was appointed to the following:

Committees:
Strategic Planning and Priorities (2014 – 2018)
Civic Works Committee (2014 – 2015)
Community and Protective Services Committee (2014 – 2015)

Agency, Boards and Commissions for the term of 2014-2018:
Lake Huron Primary Water Supply System Joint Board of Management
Elgin Area Primary Water Supply System Joint Board of Management
Museum London
Dearness Home Committee of Management
Western Fair Association Programming Council

Lastly, I wanted to let you know that all records of committee and council meetings are public and are found on the City’s website.  I working on a method that will allow quicker access at voting records.  If you have a moment, take a look at my website where I am posting voting records and let me know what you think. Please take a look at both polls. Last time I asked you how often and what type of content you wanted to see in a newsletter from your City Councillor, 100 people voted: 63% indicated they wanted to see a newsletter once/month and the content requests were evenly distributed across all voters. I will adjust the newsletter format based on the feedback I receive.  So, as always, feel free to email me at any time to share your thoughts.

 

Kind Regards,

 

Virginia Ridley

 

Councillor

Ward 10

 

Call or Text: 226-927-0539

Email: vridley@london.ca

300 Dufferin Ave, Suite 314

LONDON ON N6A 4L9

 

Like me on facebook: www.facebook.com/vridley

Follow me on twitter: @virginia_ridley

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