The County of Elgin is governed by a Warden and 8 Councillors. Councillors are elected every four years and the Warden is elected every year by members of County Council.

The current Elgin County Warden is Dave Marr

Dave Marr Warden's Photo 2018

Municipality:   Central Elgin
Office:   Mayor/ Elgin County Warden 2017/2018

David Marr was born and raised in Port Stanley. He and his wife Sandy have two adult children, Rob and Laurie. He has 20 years Council experience – 6 on Port Stanley Council and 14 on Central Elgin Council. He was appointed to serve on Elgin County Council during former Mayor Sylvia Hofhuis’s absence. David brings experience and expertise to County Council, having served previously in 1995-97. He was elected Deputy Mayor of Central Elgin in the October 2010 election and Mayor in the October 2014 election.

Councillor Marr serves on the Elgin St. Thomas Public Health Committee, The Greenlane Community Trust, and the Social/Entertainment Committee.

David farmed for years with his father George and uncle Max in Port Stanley. He worked in the banking industry for six years and currently operates an income tax consulting business with over 34 years experience. He remains very active in his community and is past president of the Port Stanley Lions Club.

Councillor Marr has been married to wife Sandy for 42 years.

I want to start by thanking the members of council for the tremendous honour and trust that they have placed in me. To my family, thank you for your continued support. You have made many sacrifices over the years and it is truly appreciated.
Grant, as Warden you continued the tradition of strong leadership with your hard work and devotion. We are grateful for your service.
Elgin County has a great team, with Council and Directors working together for a common goal. This leadership was more than evident throughout this term. Collectively, we anticipated the challenges, prepared for the opportunities and progressed towards building the future for Elgin County.
I would also like to thank all of our front line staff that work so hard on behalf of our residents. You make a difference.
Without question, our community has faced its fair share of challenges over the past several years. Declining assessment, plant closures, and reduced funding from senior levels of government have all created increased pressures on the fiscal strength of our community.
The easy thing to do in response to these challenges would have been to simply bury our heads and blame external factors. However, this group of leaders tackled these challenges head on. With a steady hand, both council and administration steered Elgin County through challenging times.

In the coming year, we will continue to work hard to protect our assessment base and to grow our local economy. To achieve this goal, we have made a number of strategic investments including the SWIFT project that will see broadband expansion throughout our county. This foundational element of economic development is critical to our future and 2018 will be an important year for this project.
Building the local economy is of paramount importance. In 2018 I will be working with my colleagues across Western Ontario to build a strategy for the growth of our regional economic development. I believe my past Municipal and Business experience will allow me to take an active role around the WOWC table for this project as the benefit of improving the economy regionally will be quickly felt locally in Elgin County as well.

Locally we have two major projects that we will be dealing with in 2018.
The rebirth of Terrace Lodge is the largest of those projects. Four years ago after consulting the residents of Terrace Lodge and the general public, the Council of the day decided to push forward with a new build to meet today’s needs. There are many challenges with this project but I know we can succeed.

The need for a new Provincial Court facility has been demonstrated for some time. Discussions with the Province to utilize other facilities have not proven to be beneficial to the County. It is time we move forward in a solution for this matter.
With the changes to the Municipal election rules that may put us in a ”lame duck” situation by the middle of July 2018 we must be prepared to deal with these projects sooner than later.

It should also be mentioned the Oxford County Health Unit and the Elgin St Thomas Health Unit have signed a Letter of intent to merge. These two boards will be doing their due diligence in the coming days to ensure that this is in every ones best interest.
Changes to the Employment Standards Act will also create pressure on our Budget. Further review of the new rules will need to be done to understand the full impact.

With these items in mind it is imperative that we review our financial situation in our budget deliberations carefully.
As we look towards the future, we must also remember to protect both our history and those that built our great community and both the Terrace Lodge project and the new Heritage building project are testament to the fact that we have not forgotten those that created the foundation for this great community.

The strategic investments in our future will pay dividends for generations to come and will be a lasting legacy of the hard work and commitment of this council to face challenges.

The team at Elgin County has proven their commitment to building the County in Ontario and as a result we are uniquely positioned to not only meet our challenges but to take advantage of opportunities and show the world that we are Progressive by Nature”!

Thank you,
Warden Dave Marr

According to the Handbook of Upper Canadian Chronology, the Warden was the Chairman of the District Council after 1841. He was appointed by the Provincial Government until 1846 and then elected by the Councillors from among their members. Usually after 1846 he held the office for only one year.

The District Councils Act 1841, Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada (4 – 5 Victoria, Chapter 10, Appendix X, gives specific instructions to Wardens which are paraphrased below:

  • The Warden was empowered to appoint a temporary District Clerk
  • The Warden, at the first quarterly meeting each year, nominated an auditor while a second auditor was elected by the Council
  • The Warden had the right to name the District Surveyor
  • The Warden, as chairman of the Council, was frequently called upon to impose his advice and authority; to regulate the mode of passing by-laws; to suggest useful and prevent the enactment of mischievous or unlawful measures; and to watch that the conditions required by the Ordinance to legalize those proceedings be faithfully observed.
  • The Warden was directed to transmit to the Governor an annual statement of the Accounts

The role and responsibility of the Warden in 1841 is perhaps best described in the following quotation :

“It is the earnest desire of His Excellency the Governor General, that you should assiduously endeavour to master the details. It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of the trust committed to your hands, or the beneficial influence which those laws, faithfully and zealously carried out, may exercise over the destinies of the Province. It is above all things essential that the Wardens should well understand their principles and leading provisions. Wardens, as the name imports, are guardians and defenders: they ought to be guardians of the rights and interests of the people, and defenders of the prerogative of the Crown. The instructor as well as protector of the inferior officers of his District, the Warden will often have to impart to them the information required for their guidance. A due performance of which task, with all the patience, sagacity and zeal it demands, will go far to insure an uniform and prosperous working of the system.”

(Signed) D. Daly,

Secretary of the Province

Remarkably, today, the role of the Warden bears similar resemblance to that envisioned in 1841. Sections 69 and 70 of the New Municipal Act describe the position of Warden as follows:

69.(1) The Warden of a county, the mayor of a city or town and the reeve of a village or township is the head of the council and the chief executive officer of the corporation.

70. It is the duty of the head of the council,

(a) to be vigilant and active in causing the laws for the government of the municipality to be duly executed and obeyed;

(b) to oversee the conduct of all subordinate officers in the government of it and, as far as practicable, cause all negligence, carelessness and violation of duty to be prosecuted and punished; and

(c) to communicate to the council from time to time such information and recommend to it such measures as may tend to the improvement of the finances, health, security, cleanliness, comfort and ornament of the municipality. R.S.O. 1990,c.M.45,d.70.