The Town Council of Gander consists of a Mayor and six elected Councillors who are responsible for policy development and general governance of the municipality of Gander. General elections are held on the last Tuesday in September every four years as per the Province's Municipalities Act.

Percy Farwell — Mayor

Mayor Farwell has been a resident of Gander since 1967. After graduating from Gander Collegiate, he completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland and holds a Certified Small Business Counsellor designation with the Canadian Institute of Small Business Counsellors.

After a period of time working in the private sector, Mayor Farwell spent 27 years of public service with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador where he held progressively responsible positions in regional and economic development  In 2017,he concluded his career following 17 years as Regional Director with the department responsible for the province’s economic development agenda.

First elected to Gander’s Town Council  in 1993, Mayor Farwell was subsequently re-elected in 1997 and 2001, serving 12 years in various positions of leadership, including 6 years as Deputy Mayor, before stepping aside from municipal politics in 2005 to focus on his professional career and to help raise a young family.  In 2017, Mayor Farwell returned to the political arena and was honored to be elected as Gander’s  9th Mayor and, subsequently, re-elected in 2021. 

Mayor Farwell currently serves as Central Director on the Board of Directors of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, executive member of the Board of Directors of the Central NL Regional Services Board,  NL Director on the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Mayors Congress, and as a Community Advisory Committee member for the Gander area of Central Health Regional Health Authority.

In his personal life, Mayor Farwell has been active in his community throughout his life. In competitive sport, he has represented the Town and Province at the regional/national level in multiple sports.  An active member of the Avion Players community theatre group for over 35 years, he has won multiple awards at the Newfoundland and Labrador Drama Festival and is currently Treasurer of the Newfoundland and Labrador Drama Society.  He is a Past Master of Gander Masonic Lodge and he and his family have been long time volunteers with the Gander and Area SPCA.

Mayor Farwell has been married to his wife, Andrea (Yetman), since 1992.  They have raised two sons, Matthew and Julien, and share their home with their German Shepherd, Casper.

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Bettina Ford — Deputy Mayor

Bettina was born in Gander in 1975 to Arthur and Betty Ford and other than time spent at university in Ottawa she has made Gander her home. She married Kevin Scott, who is from Herefordshire, England in 2001.

Since 2004, Bettina has been employed by the Community Sector Council Newfoundland and Labrador. Bettina specializes in teaching non-profit governance and management. She provides training to help organizations recruit and retain volunteers. Bettina helps to design innovative programs and inform research and policy development for the community-based sector.  Her previous employment experience includes proposal, business, and partnership development with the regional economic development board and delivering customer service training with the provincial tourism industry association.

Bettina’s volunteer time in recent years has been dedicated to the Gander Lakers Swim Club as Vice-president and chairperson of Swim For Hope to raise money for the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation. She is an active member of St. Martin’s Anglican parish and helps to coordinate the children’s program. Through the years she has volunteered with community television, public speaking opportunities for young people, school council, and as a board member with non-profit bodies focused on river management, community development, aviation history, economic development and crime prevention.

Her first foray into municipal government was in 1997 when at the age of 22 she became one of the youngest municipal officials in NL. During that time she served on each committee of council and chaired the Festival of Flight multiple times.  After serving two terms on council she chose to leave chambers to focus on starting a family. Happily, she and Kevin have two sons; Joseph and Robert.

Her decision to re-enter the municipal political arena, having been away for 16 years, was motivated by a new-found perspective on raising a young family in Gander with aging parents navigating the health care system. After being sworn in on October 1, 2021 Bettina was appointed by council to the position of Deputy Mayor. She is chairperson of the Governance and Legislative Services committee of council.


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Tara Pollett — Councillor

Tara Pollett was born and raised in Gander and is a third-generation Gander resident. Tara currently works as a Flight Dispatcher with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador Air Services. She is married to Bob and they have two children, Robyn and Alex along with two Labrador Retrievers, Piper and Annie.

Ms. Pollett was elected to the Gander Town Council in the 2017 Municipal Election as Deputy Mayor and re-elected in 2021 as Councillor.

Councillor Pollett is the Chair of the Community Services Committee and is a member of the Municipal Works Committee and Corporate Services Committee. She is also Council’s member on the Cobb’s Pond Rotary Park Committee, the Gander & Area Community Advisory Board on Housing and Homelessness Committee and the Gander Heritage Advisory Committee.

Councillor Pollett has a strong background in community volunteering. She served in several capacities, including President, Vice President and Parent Representative, with the Silver Jets Figure Skating Club from 2003–2016. She was the Recycling Coordinator at Gander Academy from 2010-2012 and the Fundraising Chair of the 2016 Gander Collegiate Graduation Committee. She was a member of the focus group for the Town’s Recreation Master Plan and is the Past President of the Gander Minor Hockey Association.

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Sheldon Handcock — Councillor

Sheldon has been a resident of Gander since 1999 and in 2003 he met his wife Melanie and have two pretty cool kids. Originally from Eastport, Sheldon moved to Gander and started work with the Department of National Defence as IT Network Manager for 103 Search and Rescue Squadron and is currently the Information Systems Security Officer for 9 Wing Gander. During this time Sheldon has completed his Certified Information Systems Security Professional, and has been immersed in IT, cyber, physical, and force protection security. In 2015 he started a cyber security consulting business providing cyber protection and managed services to local businesses.

Over the years, Sheldon has gained an in-depth background and formal training from all over the country in IT operations, cyber security, physical security, federal, provincial and municipal regulation, policy development, risk assessment and management, business continuity and disaster recovery.

In March 2020, Sheldon was appointed to Chair of the Gander and Area Chamber of Commerce until March 2021 when he assumed Past Chair position. During that time, he worked diligently with the board of directors and executive on supporting local businesses through the Covid pandemic by providing assistance for them to remain operational through the toughest time in many of these businesses’ history.

Councillor Handcock was elected to the Gander town council in 2021 and is currently Chair of the Public Safety and Protective Services committee.

Fun fact: Sheldon is the creator of the Facebook page “The Squeezebox Page” which is a place for musicians to post videos and have over 30,000 members worldwide.

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Pat Woodford — Councillor

Councillor Woodford portraitPat Woodford was born in Grand Falls-Windsor and moved to Gander in 1976. After completing high school he attended St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, NS before joining the Canadian Armed Forces in 1981. He returned to civilian life in 1985 and moved back to Gander where he began work at Transport Canada as an Air Traffic Controller. He married his wife Glenda in 1994.

Councillor Woodford was elected to the Gander Town Council in the 2017 Municipal Election.

Councillor Woodford is the Chair of the Public Safety and Protective Services Committee and is a member of the Engineering, Planning and Controls Committee and the Finance and Administration Committee. He is also Council’s representative on the Gander Community Garden Committee and the Stewardship Association of Municipalities Committee.

Councillor Woodford has a long history of volunteering in various capacities, including serving on the executive of the Knights of Columbus, as well as participating in the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog program, Canadian Red Cross, Gander Senior Flyers and a number of other community organizations.

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Wilson Hoffe — Councillor


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