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Accolades and warm wishes for retiring municipal clerk Kim White

A standing ovation from Prince Edward County Council, “council cast-offs”, staff and members of the public followed accolades and warm wishes for Clerk Kim White who will retire Friday after 30 years of service to the municipality.

“I think you should face your accusers,” Mayor Steve Ferguson joked as he invited White to be seated next to him at the horseshoe during that portion of Tuesday’s regular council meeting.

First to the podium was former councillor Kevin Gale who noted White looked good sitting at the horseshoe and suggested an election bid in three and a half years.

“Tonight I address you as a member of a group we refer to as the ‘council cast-offs’,” said Gale, standing with former previous council members Mayor Robert Quaiff and councillors Jim Dunlop, Barry Turpin, Gord Fox and Steve Graham.

“Collectively we sat around this horseshoe with Kim White as clerk, or deputy clerk, for 73 years… We were privileged to serve under the guidance and supervision of Kim’s strong municipal experience. After long days in the office she persevered through meetings, often several hours long, keeping things on track; and council members on track. And I’m sure there were times she was sitting on the edge of her seat, anxious to leap over that desk right there and grab one of us by the throat and strangle the crap out of us – especially Fox and Graham,” he said to laughter.

The group, he said, made the decision it would not miss her last meeting of council without saying thank you… You will be missed by the municipality.”

He noted the ‘council cast-offs’ thought long and hard about an appropriate gift “for someone who put up with so much, for so long and the conversation kept coming back to one thing – alcohol. Although marijuana was a very close second!” he continued to more laughter.

They insisted she cash in her LCBO card Friday and start her retirement with a well-earned cocktail, or several. “Because we like to think we contributed to some of those grey hairs because we think back in 1998, it was brown.”

“It was brown,” White confirmed.

Quaiff, holding a bouquet of roses to present her, also praised her professionalism and patience.

“What an ambassador you have been,” he said. “What a professional you have been. You saved my bacon more times than enough,” said Quaiff. “You’ve put up with a lot of councillors over the years and you’ve also put up with a lot of members of the community that probably at times requested more of your time, than members of council.

White became clerk in 2013 after serving 15 years as deputy clerk. She began her municipal career in 1989 with the village of Bloomfield as the assistant to the clerk before becoming the clerk/treasurer/collector in 1992.

The cast offs joined current councillors and Dick Shannon, the first CAO in the amalgamated municipality, for a group photograph with White.

Then, as White returned to the clerk’s chair, accolades followed from members of council.

They thanked her for her great advice, devotion, principles for hard work and dedication, compassion, professionalism and thoughtfulness.

Councillor Stewart Bailey noted he was convinced there were two of her. “You’re here first thing in the morning, then still at 2 a.m. when we’re still going. You’re amazing.”

When the applause rang out, and council and members of the public rose in ovation, White, of course, called “Order, please” to resume the meeting.

Catalina Blumenberg has been training with White to take over the position of municipal clerk.

She holds a Masters of Public Administration from Western University and a B.A in Political Science and Public Administration from the University of Ottawa.

Blumenberg served as deputy clerk at the Township of Uxbridge in Durham Region from 2017- 2019. From 2014-2016, she served as committee clerk at the City of Kingston. She began her career in local government as an intern with the Town of Carleton Place in 2013.

“I’m excited to start my new job as Clerk of Shire Hall,” said Blumenberg. “I’m looking forward to continuing to build on the successes of the County, leading the clerk’s department forward and working with council. I know this next chapter will be a unique and fulfilling challenge.”

“Catalina’s experience, education, and enthusiasm for local government make her uniquely qualified for this position,” said Mayor Ferguson.

In addition to providing secretarial support to council, the clerk’s office oversees customer service, records management, registration of vital statistics, documents of authority, repository of tenders, municipal elections, municipal investigations and more.

“While we are excited to welcome Catalina to the County, we are sad to say goodbye to Kim. All of us here at the municipality appreciate Kim’s many contributions. Her professionalism, expertise, positive attitude and willingness to have fun will be truly missed by council, her colleagues, and the public. We wish Kim and her husband Fred all of the best in retirement.”

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