MORRISBURG – “Brenda, I don’t know what we would have done if you didn’t come back, so I want to thank you very much from the bottom of my heart,” Municipality of South Dundas Coun. Don Lewis said.

Lewis made the statement during the township’s Jan. 10 council meeting, where local politicians passed a bylaw confirming the appointment of Leslie Drynan to the position of clerk. Drynan is replacing clerk Brenda Brunt who, after a brief retirement, returned to the position last fall when her replacement unexpectedly vacated the position. In Brunt’s report, it was noted that Drynan was chosen to fill the position after two rounds of advertising and interviews by the hiring committee.

“First of all, I’m going to thank our current clerk Brenda Brunt for coming back and rescuing us last fall when our clerk at that time resigned. So, thank you Brenda for your work in the last number of months. We certainly appreciate it. I know that Leslie is probably going to appreciate you being around, so we will continue to enjoy some of those benefits, but we do want you to retire in peace and comfort,” Mayor Steven Byvelds said. “Leslie, welcome to South Dundas. You bring a breadth of experience with you, and I certainly look forward to working with you.”

Brunt, who had worked for the municipality for roughly 31 years, officially retired on June 4, 2021, but shortly after, on Sept. 10, 2021, her replacement Ethan Robert resigned from the position. At that time, the municipality asked Brunt to return to work until they could find a suitable replacement. Chief administrative officer Shannon Geraghty said he hoped to find a new clerk by mid-to-late October, so Brunt could return to her much deserved retirement.

“Deep gratitude to Brenda, who could have said no and could have said, ‘I’ve worked long enough, and I don’t need to come back,’” Deputy Mayor Kirsten Gardner said.

The sentiments of both the mayor and deputy-mayor were echoed by the remainder of council, all expressing gratitude for Brunt’s return from retirement in the township’s time of need. Brunt is expected to remain on site for a short period of time to aid in the transition.

“Thank you, Brenda, for your dedication to South Dundas,” Coun. Archie Mellan said. “I don’t think people should take it lightly. It’s been mentioned that you could have rolled on and left us in the lurch, but your community spirit and your love for South Dundas showed through that you weren’t going to let that happen. You weren’t going to leave us in the lurch. So, thank you, Brenda.”

In addition to all the gratitude toward Brunt, each council member provided enthusiastic welcomes to Drynan, who Byvelds noted comes with extensive experience. Drynan’s LinkedIn page shows that she has more than a decade of experience in various municipal roles, including deputy clerk, clerk, and deputy CAO. She studied business administration at Trent University and then completed a master’s degree in Public Administration from Western University roughly 10 years ago.

“I just want to thank everyone for their kind words,” Drynan said. “I really look forward to working with council, staff, and most importantly the community. And I want to thank Brenda as well. She has been a mentor throughout my almost 20-year career now. She’s one of the strongest municipal clerks in Eastern Ontario, if not the province, and so I know I have big shoes to fill but I know she’s left everything in good hands, and I think everything’s in order and I look forward to helping you finish off the term strong.”