Dufferin News Municipal Politics

Amaranth Councilmembers Move Towards Filling Vacancy

Amaranth Councilmembers Move Towards Filling Vacancy

At the Amaranth Council Meeting on November 18th, CAO Nicole Martin informed council that the sixty days to fill the vacant council seat was fast approaching. She also reminded council that two members of the public had reached out expressing interest in the role. It was suggested that Amaranth councilmembers could choose from this pool of applicants to form a full council. At the very least, going through the process could lead to some movement on the matter.

The council for the Township of Amaranth was not open to the idea of this closed process.

“Just because two people submitted letters, doesn’t mean that there aren’t other people who are interested in coming in,” said Councillor Heather Foster. She argued that more people should be given the opportunity.

CAO Martin stated that the option being alluded to was selection by nomination and appointment. This was previously turned down by council at the October 7th meeting when the seat was declared vacant. Councillor Gail Little introduced this motion, with Councillor Foster and Mayor Bob Currie voting against it which resulted in its failure.

It was indicated that council could set aside the procedural bylaw in order to re-examine a motion that was previously defeated.

Councillor Foster wanted to hear what other alternatives were remaining.

CAO Martin communicated that besides selecting from the two interested residents and re-examining one of the several previously defeated motions, presented over the course of two meetings, there was little else to do be done other than staying status quo with four council members. Martin said if that was the choice made by council, she would like a motion passed on that as well.

“I think if we’re going to do it, we open the gate to anybody, as Councillor Little said, that’s qualified to hold the position,” pronounced Mayor Currie to the rest of the Amaranth councilmembers.

Deputy Mayor Chris Gerrits wanted specifics as to how selection would take place, recalling that a ranked ballot format was proposed. CAO Martin asserted that this was correct, and it may lead to ‘everybody’s second choice’ being picked, but the matter of selection would be explored at a later date if council went with this method of filling the seat.

It was disclosed that Councillor Foster was the only one who could reintroduce this motion, unless the procedural bylaw was set aside.

Councillor Little put forth a motion to do this, allowing a failed motion to be re-examined, for the purposes of reconsidering the council vacancy seat options. All but Councillor Foster voted in favour of the motion.

Next, Little put forth the motion to have council fill the vacant seat by appointment through the process of calling for open nominations. It passed, with Councillor Foster again being the lone ‘no’ vote.

The policy for selecting the appointee will be decided upon for the next council meeting, occurring December 9th. There will be a special meeting, open to the public, where Amaranth councilmembers will ask questions of those nominated and interested in joining council.

Until then, nominations are open and will be accepted by the Clerk at the Municipal Office during regular business hours until December 11th, 2020 at 2 pm. Appointments must be made with the Township Office in order to complete the application package. Packages that are dropped off will not be accepted.

It is stated that, according to the Municipal Elections Act, qualified candidates are 18 years of age or older, a Canadian Citizen, not prohibited from voting under any other Act or disqualified from holding municipal office, and “a resident of the Township of Amaranth, or an owner or tenant of land in the Township or the spouse of such an owner or tenant”.

In addition to this, the public notice sent out by CAO Nicole Martin included the following:

“Candidate(s) must also submit to the Clerk a personal statement of qualification for consideration of Council. Personal statements will be typewritten in a 12-point font on letter size (8 1⁄2” x 11”) paper, shall not exceed two (2) pages in length, and will include the
Candidate’s name and address. Statements that do not meet these requirements shall not be included in any Council meeting agenda or provided to Council by the Clerk.

Certified registered Candidates will be afforded the opportunity to address Council for a period of not more than ten (10) minutes and then will be asked questions by Council in an open Special Meeting of Council to be held on December 17, 2020 starting at 4:00 p.m. in
Council Chambers at the Municipal Office.”

The selected candidate will serve the rest of this term of council, which ends November 14th, 2022. The Council Vacancy Policy and application package are available on the Township’s website at http://www.amaranth.ca or at the Municipal Office 374028 6th Line, Amaranth.

For further information on this matter, or to complete a Council Vacancy Application package, please contact nmartin@amaranth.ca.

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