If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.
British educational writer W.E. Hickson is credited with popularizing the proverb, but the words were shared with Paul Boyd by his grandfather. Unsuccessful in his bid for mayor in 2010 and again in 2014, Boyd has decided to throw his hat in the ring a third time this October.
“This is my try again,” Boyd told the Gazette Monday morning.
A co-owner of Gilmour’s Meat Shop and Deli in Rossmore, Boyd previously worked for 35 years at manufacturing company Ingersoll Rand and wrapped up his career as vice-president of national sales.
Reducing debt, reigning in spending and thereby reducing taxes are Boyd’s priorities.
“A big concern of mine is our debt of over $41 million,” he said. “We can’t seem to get rid of that debt, we just keep spending.”
Without intervention, it could get much worse, he said.
The longtime Ameliasburgh resident served on Ameliasburgh Township council for six years ending in 1981, serving as councillor, deputy reeve, and finally reeve. During that time he held positions as chair of economic development and chair of the county museum board.
Prior to the County’s 1998 amalgamation there was no debt, Boyd said, and things like roads maintenance were much less expensive.
“Things just kept getting more and more and more expensive,” he said. “… The roads budget is the largest of anything in the county and our roads are terrible.”
In his career, Boyd managed 100 salespeople in 10 offices across the country. If elected, he said he can use the skills he developed through that time in the mayor’s role.
“I have an ability to bring people together and make some good and tough decisions,” he said.
He said he would also strive to ensure the right people are in the right roles.
“You need to have quality people in positions,” he said. “This is a big business.”
For Boyd, the biggest issue facing the county today are its rising taxes.
“You can back that all the way down — spending, too many people,” he said.
He argued the municipality should take a lesson from the current Ontario government.
“We should be like the present government today — no more hiring and no more travel,” he said.
He said trips to meetings in places like Toronto are unnecessary with today’s technology.
Boyd feels council should abandon the current committee-of-the-whole structure in favour of smaller standing committees who would bring issues to council. Beginning a process to move to that system is something he’d like to look into immediately if elected.
“Let’s try it and see how it works, where you have councillors, the people who are elected, as part of the process of deciding whether we’re going to buy a $1.5-million fire truck or we’re going to pave County Rd. 13,” he said. “It would give the people who are elected an idea, from the ground up, what the administration is planning or wanting to do.”
Another thing he’d like to do, if successful, would be to implement a performance management program to help organize staff which he said would lead to more successful outcomes.
“When they’re used properly, performance management and appraisals are incredibly powerful for aligning the goals of the municipality and the individual working for the county,” he said.
Additionally, he’d like to see a more streamlined development process with less red tape and to see the municipality take greater steps to divest unused excess lands and properties.
First and foremost, Boyd said he cares about Prince Edward County.
“I’m dedicated to this county and have been forever,” he said. “I’d just like to make things happen that are to the benefit of everyone.”
Boyd joins current South Marysburgh councillor Steve Ferguson and current Ameliasburgh councillor Dianne O’Brien in the race for mayor. The last day to file nominations is Friday, July 27. Advance voting and internet voting begin Saturday, Oct. 13 for the Monday, Oct. 22 election.