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Vacant council seat to be offered to Guy Anderson
By Liz Dadson

Kincardine council

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The Kincardine councillor-at-large seat, left vacant when Ron Coristine resigned April 2, will be offered to Guy Anderson.

In the 2010 municipal election, seven people ran for four positions. Anderson was the first runner-up with 2,258 votes, followed by Marsha Leggett with 1,577 votes, and Ron Farrell with 1,478 votes.

In committee-of-the-whole last night (April 16), chief administrative officer Murray Clarke said council has 60 days to fill the vacant seat - by June 9. If the vacancy had occurred within 90 days of voting day - Oct. 27 - there would have been no requirement to fill the vacancy, he said.

No by-election can be held because the vacancy occurred after March 31, so appointment by council is the only route available to fill the vacant seat, said Clarke.

For a person to be qualified for office, he/she must meet the following qualifications, said Clarke:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • A Canadian citizen
  • A resident of the Municipality of Kincardine, or an owner or tenant of land in the municipality or the spouse of such an owner or tenant
  • Not prohibited from voting under any other Act, or disqualified from holding municipal office

Clarke suggested the following options for filling the vacant seat:

  • Option 1 - Council could appoint the first eligible runner-up for councillor-at-large from the 2010 election
  • Option 2 - Council could give eligible individuals an opportunity to express an interest to serve, by placing notice in the local press and on the municipal website (selection process to be determined)
  • Option 3 - Select another method as determined by council

Councillor Maureen Couture agreed with Option 2, welcoming expressions of interest from the public. 

"That's the way it was done in the former Town of Kincardine and it was very successful," she said. "We're a ways past the last election."

Deputy mayor Anne Eadie preferred Option 1 since there isn't much time left, with the 2014 election just over six months away.

"Or we could sit with just eight councillors until the next election," she said. "I would go with Option 1 and then if nobody who ran for councillor-at-large last election wants it, then we go to Option 2."

"I agree," said councillor Candy Hewitt. "First right of refusal should go to those who ran at-large because it's so late (in the current council term)."

Councillor Randy Roppel argued for Option 2. "I was given that opportunity when I started into politics. If it was good enough for me, it's good enough for here."

Councillor Kenneth Craig suggested a hybrid solution, asking the first eligible candidate who ran at-large in the last election, and the next eligible candidate and the next. Then, if none of the three is interested, switch to Option 2, and seek expressions of interest from the public.

Mayor Larry Kraemer told council that, on behalf of the municipality, he already spoke to Anderson and asked if he was interested.

"He indicated that he would consider it," said Kraemer. "He had the next most votes for councillor-at-large, and he is an experienced councillor, having served three terms on council.

 


"We're so close to the next election, the other process would take some time. I don't want to speak for Mr. Anderson but I think he'd be interested in only the rest of this term on council. Or, we could leave the seat vacant until the election."

"I think it's inappropriate that the mayor has approached the runner-up candidate already," said Couture. "That could sway some councillors in their decision, and that's not correct."

Kraemer said the information is all a matter of public record. "I spoke to the person affected and now, I'm just telling council that I had that conversation. It was part of my research on this matter."

"I disagree with you, Larry (Kraemer)," said Couture.

"That's your opinion," replied Kraemer.

"I'm not influenced by the mayor speaking to the runner-up," said Eadie. "I just want to clarify, then, that Option 1 means we would consider the first runner-up and then the next eligible candidate and then the next one?"

She put forward a motion to that effect and it was approved.

Committee-of-the-whole then agreed to follow Option 1 for filling the vacant seat on council.

That recommendation will come to council for final approval May 7.


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Wednesday, April 16, 2014