When the battle to protect his town and province from the worst pandemics in over a century required leadership and action, former Woodstock Mayor Arthur Slipp didn’t hesitate to step forward.
In a small private ceremony at Slipp’s Woodstock home on Oct. 23, Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Bill Hogan recognized Slipp’s COVID leadership and decades of commitment to the betterment of his community on several levels.
Hogan, Carleton’s MLA and former colleague, presented Slipp with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal.
The medal, honouring the late Monarch’s 70 years on the throne, is presented to a New Brunswicker who made significant contributions to the province, community or field of service.
Hogan, who worked beside Slipp as a Woodstock High School teacher and a colleague on Woodstock council, said he witnessed Slipp’s dedication and hard work on many levels.
“I’ve learned a lot from Arthur,” he said.
While Slipp’s contributions range from his efforts on behalf of New Brunswick teachers, high school sports programs, volunteer efforts, municipal government and the Union of New Brunswick Municipalities, Hogan singled out his stellar efforts during the COVID-19 crisis.
With the primary focus on maintaining and protecting the health of essential workers and the safety of our area residents, Hogan explained, Slipp helped establish operational protocols for council and town administration to remain open and functional.
Those protocols helped keep all municipal services operating without staff layoffs.
Slipp guided the town as he met weekly with administration by telephone conference calls, transitioning to online streaming of council meetings to ensure transparency.
The mayor kept residents informed with communication updates and video messages, encouraging citizens to follow masking and vaccination protocols and updating them on the constant changes.
Under Slipp’s guidance, the town carefully documented extra COVID-related costs and revenue losses to provide accurate information to submit the Safe Start recovery claim, totalling $604,666.95.
Slipp also played a vital role in the Provincial COVID-19 Committee work, which included contributions to several provincial departments.
He served on the Western Valley Community Capacity and Resiliency Steering Committee for the Department of Justice and Public Safety.
Slipp participated in regular conference calls with senior Department of Health officials and the Chief Medical Officer to remain up-to-date with response-level restrictions.
He also collaborated with the Department of Environment and Local Government, developing mandates for the Regional Service Commission for a post-COVID election.
Slipp worked with New Brunswick EMO and served on the Union of Municipalities of New Brunswick planning committee.
Slipp graciously accepted the medal but quickly credited others, including his wife Lynn and his children, for supporting him during COVID and all his community and volunteer efforts over the years.
“I was fortunate to have Lynn,” he said. “We did this together.”
Slipp also praised members of the Woodstock council and staff for their valiant efforts during challenging times.
Amy Anderson, who served as deputy mayor with Slipp, was one of a handful of family and friends on hand for the medal presentation.
“I don’t know what I would have done without you,” Slipp told Anderson.
Anderson said Slipp deserved the recognition, praising the former mayor’s ability to stay calm and develop effective plans to meet any challenge. She noted Slipp’s vast knowledge of municipal government and his decades of commitment to the community on countless levels.
Hogan said he met Slipp when he arrived at Woodstock High School as a teacher. He called Slipp a mentor, adding that mentorship continued when Hogan arrived on council.
Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun