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New BLR mayor debuts at County Council

By Sean Chase, The Daily Observer

Sean Chase/Daily Observer 
Sheldon Keller, the new mayor of Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglan Township, attended his first meeting of Renfrew County council on Wednesday. Keller replaces Garry Gruntz and will finish out the current term of township council which expires in November 2018.

Sean Chase/Daily Observer Sheldon Keller, the new mayor of Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglan Township, attended his first meeting of Renfrew County council on Wednesday. Keller replaces Garry Gruntz and will finish out the current term of township council which expires in November 2018.

 

The newest member of Renfrew County made his debut Wednesday.

Sheldon Keller, the newly-appointed mayor of Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglin Township, said he was looking forward to serving his constituents both at home and at the upper tier. He replaces Garry Gruntz, who officially resigned in July.

Right away, the new mayor has been put to work at the county. A striking committee appointed him to sit on the development and property committee, the social services committee and as an alternate to the land division committee. Keller said he was not disappointed after his first day with his new peers around the county table.

“I am actually enjoying it,” said Keller. “I am looking forward to sitting on those in the future. It's a learning experience, it really is.

Keller was first elected as a township councillor in 2014. He found himself in the mayoralty after council met in July to decide how to fill the vacancy left by Gruntz. Last December Gruntz announced he would not seek a second term, however, his departure was accelerated this spring when he sold his house and planned to move to New Brunswick. Township council determined an election would be still costly for the taxpayers so Keller was chosen after putting his name forward for consideration.

“Everybody kind of thought I would be a good replacement so here I am,” said Keller.

A native of the township whose family has roots going back six generations, Keller is self-employed in the forestry sector. A certified tree-marker who uses his own skidder for harvesting, he works for the two major sawmills in Palmer Rapids, Gulick Forest Products Limited and Thomas J. Neuman Limited where he conducts access planning as it pertains to Crown land. He is married with three children.

His term as mayor ends next November after the next municipal elections are held. Keller said he is ready to embrace the challenges that come with the office adding he is humbled by the opportunity.

“I have to prove it to myself that I can do the job but I also have to prove to the residents of the township,” said Keller adding he got one important piece of advice from the outgoing mayor. “He said try to keep an open mind.”

County council was hit with two resignations this summer. In addition to Gruntz, Head, Clara, Maria Mayor Jim Gibson announced his sudden departure on July 13, the same day that another member of that council, Debbi Grills, also stepped down. Since then, township councillor Robert Reid was appointed the new mayor. Both Head, Clara and Maria and Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglin still have to fill the councillor vacancies.

SChase@postmedia.com