Neil Christoffersen chose not to seek re-election as Mayor for the Municipality of North Norfolk this past municipal election. He had served as head of council for three terms (12 years), and before that he was on the Austin Local Urban District committee for one year, for a total of 16 years in municipal politics.
When asked about highlights through the years, he says it was a tough answer to consider.
"I didn't want to put a label on any one thing to the detriment of anything else," says Christoffersen. "I felt everything I was doing was important, whether it was making a new bylaw, putting water in somewhere, or just helping somebody with helping their problems with understanding something in the municipality."
He says working with the people and observing all the dedicated ones who work behind the scene to keep things in operation was certainly a highlight. Christoffersen adds, he has to hand it to these folks, noting council makes the decisions and they carry them out.
Christoffersen says, during the time he's been on council, he was on several committees. He says those committees that keep the municipality going in every community have volunteers who are the backbone of any town. Christoffersen says it's basically the interaction he's had with people over the years that he thinks most about.
He notes he's a people kind of guy, as he feels most are. But that wasn't what caused him to enter into municipal politics. Christoffersen says it began in 2002 in the LUD committee only one person put a name in when three were required. He says council called him up asking him if he]d consider being appointed. Not knowing what it was, he says he thought he'd give it a whirl.
Christoffersen says they eventually figured out their way and when the term ended, he notes he enjoyed the experience and wondered what council membership might be like. He hesitatingly says he submitted his name for reeve on a whim, and won. Christoffersen explains if was going to run he might as well run for the top position. He notes he had no problems with the then current council in 2006, but just felt like getting involved.
He explains during the second term, 2010 saw no one run against him. So, he continued in the role for another term. Christoffersen jokingly says residents must have thought he could do a better job and gave him a second chance.
When amalgamation of municipalities was imposed throughout the province, Christoffersen says he figured he'd stay considering his eight years of experience would help the process.
"Working with the people and seeing all the dedicated people in the municipality behind the scenes, that keep it running - like all the employees... I really got to hand it to them because we're the council and meet every so often, making decisions, and banging the gavel a little bit. Then they go out and carry out all those decisions."