First-time St. John’s councillors eager to get going

Josh
Josh Pennell
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Though it was no doubt an exciting day for everybody during the swearing in of the city’s new council, it was likely even more exciting for the three councillors starting their first term as part of the crew that represents the people of St. John’s at city hall.

(From left) David Lane, councillor at large, Jonathan Galgay, councillor for Ward 2, and Bernard Davis, councillor for Ward 4, at St. John’s City Hall after being sworn in Monday. — Photo by Amy Fitzpatrick/Special to the Telegram

David Lane, Jonathan Galgay and Bernard Davis are the three fresh faces on council. There are others elected this time who weren’t on council last term, but they have been on it at some point before. For Lane, Galgay and Davis, it is all brand new.

Their excitement, eagerness and perhaps slight apprehension at being sworn in and then mingling for a celebration afterwards was in contrast to the laid-back ease with which Frank Galgay moved through the crowd chatting with people, including the new council. After

16 years, Frank Galgay didn’t run this year. But he still had an eye on what he liked about the new crew looking out for the city.

“Any council would welcome new ideas, new approaches and new concepts to the direction which council should take,” he said, adding that the three youngest and freshest minds would bring with them a knowledge and enthusiasm that’s particular to the young.

“You will find very quickly that the public do have questions and do have issues,” he laughed.

Indeed, the three councillors seemed as though they had already experienced that firsthand.

“I got emails the same night I got elected,” Bernard said.

Right away, city staff were there to get him and the other councillors started on how to deal with those issues.

The work doesn’t wait for people to be sworn in, it seems. Bernard said in his district of Ward 4, traffic and speeding are big concerns as there are nine schools in his area and several university and college campuses. He said he was already at work looking at ways to slow things down but on Monday night he was also basking in the thrill of being sworn is as a councillor.

“It’s surreal. It was a great day. Nerve racking at the start. And you got your feet wet right away,” he said.

Jonathan Galgay nabbed Ward 2 and was also enjoying being sworn in.

“It’s really exciting. It’s really emotional, too, to have all your family and your supporters around you.”

He also wasn’t wasting any time. He said he had already started talks with city staff on the revitalization of Victoria Park and speeding and increased traffic.

“I think it’s an opportune time to meet with the RNC and city staff to identify measures we can reel out in the immediate future and then plan a long-term strategy,” Galgay said.

And despite being new at city hall — or perhaps because of it — Lane was already thinking about ways to engage the public more in the decision-making process.  

“I think opening up city hall and inviting people to come in,” he said, thinking of ways to get the public more engaged. “And speaking a better language that people can understand.”

While eagerness is an attribute Frank Galgay likes about the young blood on council, his advice to the inexperienced of the pack is still to learn to walk before you run.

“Go slowly. It is a learning curve,” Frank said. “I had to learn. It took me at least a few years to get my feet established.”

The three young councillors certainly had a spring in their step as they walked about the council chambers and the Foran room that the former councillor doesn’t have. But he has confidence they’ll have to learn.

“Get yourself established in your first year or two. After that you should be well on your way,” Frank said.

josh.pennell@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Ward 2

Geographic location: Victoria Park

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