By Ron Giofu
The winds of change have swept Aldo DiCarlo into the mayor’s office.
DiCarlo is now Amherstburg’s mayor-elect after winning Monday night’s municipal election in convincing fashion over three opponents. DiCarlo had an unofficial total of 4,023 votes, more than double what second place finisher Ron Sutherland had. Sutherland, the current deputy mayor, had 1,950 votes while John Sutton, a current councillor, finished with 1,120 votes. Marty Adler’s unofficial vote total was 535.
“I feel great, definitely some relief and very grateful to my family and friends,” DiCarlo said during a victory party at the Verdi Club.
While noting he was running with the intention of winning, DiCarlo admitted he didn’t expect to win by as much as he did.
“I guess I didn’t see the margin,” he said. “I tried not to think about it and tried to focus on the campaign until it was done.”
DiCarlo said he received positive feedback throughout the campaign and heard repeatedly that people were looking for something different.
“The fact I ran on change, that was the magic word,” he said. “The people were ready for change.”
The mayor-elect reiterated his 100-day plan, something he ran on, stating he plans on having town hall meetings in all areas of town. He noted people living in rural areas feel left out “for good reason” and will try and get input from them.
“I’ve got to sit down with the new CAO (John Miceli), all department heads and council and we are going to start talking about what to do to move the town forward,” he said.
As for his new council – which includes new Deputy Mayor-elect Bart DiPasquale, a re-elected Diane Pouget and councillor-elects Jason Lavigne, Leo Meloche, Joan Courtney and Rick Fryer – he said DiPasquale and Pouget were “shoo-ins” but the rest of the winners show that people wanted change. He added there will a greater sharing of information and is ready to get to work.
DiPasquale was with many of the candidates watching the results come into the upstairs community room at the Libro Centre. He compared his feelings to when he was elected as a councillor four years ago and was grateful the public had faith in him once again.
Admitting he doesn’t know DiCarlo very well, DiPasquale said he plans on supporting him as best he can as his deputy mayor.
“I wish him the best of luck and I’m sure we’ll work together well,” he said.
Getting the 41 recommendations from the Deloitte report will be a priority, DiPasquale stated, and believed the new council will have more of a “team approach” in getting that and other initiatives accomplished.
“The people wanted change and got it,” said DiPasquale.
DiPasquale had 4,184 votes unofficially with John Menna having 1,777 and Carolyn Davies, a current councillor like DiPasquale, having 1,515 votes.
Pouget topped councillor candidates with an unofficial vote total of 4,010.
“I’m just happy the people of Amherstburg put their trust in me and re-elected me,” she said.
Pouget pledged to try and be the public’s “voice on council” and that she would do everything in her power to bring down the town’s debt. She said the town needs to look at reducing all costs and look at the number of employees it has.
“We’re really going to have to look at contracts and there won’t be any big raises because we can’t afford it at this time,” she said.
Describing DiCarlo as “very energetic,” she expressed confidence in his ability to lead the town.
“I’m sure he’ll do a good job for Amherstburg,” he said.
Meloche, who finished third with 2,448 votes, was grateful for the chance to sit on council.
“The first thing is this would not have been possible without my supporters and the residents,” said Meloche.
Meloche said there were a lot of people who helped him along the way and that helped him with his campaign.
“I had to count on a lot of people to help me out,” he said.
The McGregor resident said he understands financial matters and received a lot of good feedback on other issues the town faces.
“What it proves is that hard work and dedication has paid off,” said Meloche. “You can never relax until it’s finished and the votes are in but I was optimistic heading into tonight.”
Jason Lavigne, whose vote total of 2,920 was good enough for second place among councillor candidates, was happy with the result.
“I’m ecstatic,” he said. “I’m extremely happy to see the group of people I’ll be working with. It shows people are involved and educated on the issues.”
Lavigne said it was a long campaign and involved more door-to-door campaigning and engaging of the public. He said the new council will need to get together and “feel each other out” before going into budget deliberations.
“We’re going to get the train back on track here,” he said.
Fryer came in fifth with 2,086 votes and called it “a pleasant surprise.
“I never take anything for granted,” he said. “We campaigned right up until the last day.”
Fryer thanked his father Mike, who was his campaign manager, and the people of Amherstburg.
“It was a very good campaign overall and I’m glad to see the results,” he said.
A complete review of the town is necessary, said Fryer, and that he pledges to give residents “black and white answers” to any questions they have on town operations.
“No more guessing what the financial situation is,” said Fryer.
Fryer added he will try and get the procedural bylaw changed so that residents can openly address council before regular meetings get underway.
After congratulating DiCarlo, DiPasquale and the other victors, Fryer predicted the new council will be a good unit to work with.
“I think it will be a joy to work with the other six members of council,” he said.
Ron LeClair had previously been acclaimed as the Greater Essex County District School Board trustee while Frank DiTomasso will fill Courtney’s old position on the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board.
The new council will take office Dec. 1.