December 5, 2023

FREDERICTON, NB  – The Union of Municipalities of New Brunswick is thrilled to announce the recipients of this year’s three major awards presented in honour of individuals who made indelible contributions during their years of dedicated service to their communities and the province. On November 25, 2023 over 350 members and special guests came together to celebrate New Brunswick Municipalities and three outstanding individuals at UMNB’s Annual Awards Banquet.

The first receipt of the evening, the Raymond Murphy Memorial Award, commemorates the legacy of the esteemed past president and executive director Raymond Murphy of Rexton NB, a beloved figure renowned for his unwavering dedication to community service. Established in 2017, this award honours a member municipality volunteer, elected or non-elected, who has exhibited outstanding devotion to serving their community. The 2023 Raymond Murphy Memorial Award was presented to Deputy Mayor Kate Akagi of St. Andrews. Deputy Mayor Akagi’s remarkable commitment to social, cultural, and economic enhancement within New Brunswick has left an important mark on the community. Her multifaceted contributions as an educator, devoted volunteer, Indigenous liaison, and civic supporter can not be understated. Her recent recognition with the Order of New Brunswick further solidifies her status as a beacon of inspiration for generations of New Brunswickers.

UMNB Board of Directors proudly introduced the Arthur Slipp Municipal Leader of the Year Award, created in honour of former Mayor of Woodstock and UMNB President, Arthur Slipp, to honour a municipal official for their unwavering integrity and commitment to effecting lasting change in their community. The inaugural recipient of this award is Mayor Libby O’Hara of Quispamsis. Mayor O’Hara’s exceptional leadership, marked by her adept guidance through challenging times and dedication to fostering transparent governance, stands as a testament to her unwavering dedication to her community. Her remarkable ability to foster collaboration, promote work-life balance, and uphold a culture of transparency has earned her widespread admiration and respect among her peers.

Lastly, the highest honour among municipal leaders in New Brunswick Municipalities, the Louise Breau Memorial Award recognizes the unparalleled dedication and enduring commitment of an individual to municipalities in the province. Named in honour of the late mayor of Millville, Louise was a reliable, sincere and dynamic person who wanted to be involved and would help out in any way she could. We were pleased to award this honour to former Grand Falls Mayor Marcel Deschênes. Mayor Deschênes has been an integral part of UMNB’s journey from its inception. With over 25 years of tireless service to his community and an impactful legacy, Marcel has been a pillar for UMNB throughout the years. His steadfast dedication to community development, spanning decades, showcases an unparalleled devotion to his beloved Grand Falls. His example is a testament for others to follow. 

The Union of Municipalities extends heartfelt congratulations to all the recipients for their remarkable achievements and unwavering commitment to serving their communities. These individuals embody the spirit of public service and serve as inspirations to all aspiring community leaders. 

President Andrew Black, Mayor of Tantramar adds “We would also like to recognize all municipal leaders for their continued time and dedication to their municipalities. This past year has not been an easy one for new and seasoned municipal leaders. Their perseverance in the face of adversity speaks volumes about their commitment to serving their communities and ensuring progress even in times of change.”

About the UMNB:

The UMNB is a bilingual association of 54 municipalities of all sizes and linguistic backgrounds. Together, UMNB’s members represent nearly 70% of the New Brunswick population.


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For more information, please contact:  

Dan Murphy

UMNB Executive Director 

(506) 478 – 1431