Dufferin News Melancthon Municipal Politics


Melancthon's Council Has Filled Its Vacancy! - Township of Melancthon Council Meeting March, 22, 2021

Melancthon’s search for a new councillor to fill its vacant seat is now complete!

At a special meeting held by Melancthon’s council on March 22, 2021, councilmembers deliberated and decided on who they would appoint to fill the council vacancy. Four citizens put their names forward for the position: Thomas Reid, Jim Turner, James McLean and Alan Wilson.

James McLean has been appointed to Melancthon’s council to serve the remainder of the 2018-2022 term.

“Thank you to all those who put their name forward.”, said Melancthon’s Mayor Darren White. ” I think it is unfortunate, well fortunate or unfortunate depending how you look at it, that there is only one spot available on council. We had multiple candidates who were more than qualified and able to serve.”

Candidates had the opportunity to undergo multiple rounds of questioning to present why they would make the best addition to Melancthon’s council. Residents had the chance to pose their questions to the four applicants during an All-Candidates Meeting hosted by the Dufferin Board of Trade. Another session followed where Melancthon’s council performed their inquiry. One candidate, Jim Turner, was not able to attend the second session. Mayor Darren White stated that this was due to Turner experiencing a family emergency. Although this absence would not preclude Turner from the nomination, White said it might ‘weigh on the final decisions of council.’

McLean believed three things distinguished him from the other candidates and would allow him to bring a ‘unique voice to council,’ which he communicated during the All-Candidates session. The first was that he knew the area very well and the issues that the Township faced. 

“Things like ensuring families and those working from home have access to high speed internet, finding ways to better support and bring attention to our farmers, attracting investment into our community, and putting a plan in place that ensures that we’re at the table when the province and the federal government come up with new rules that impact our community. I know this community and I believe that I have the skills and experience to help them work through these issues.”

His second point was that he would represent a younger generation becoming more prevalent in the community. The last reason he provided was his experience working with different levels of government and how he believed that he would benefit the Township by knowing how ‘to get federal and provincial attention,’ which would be essential for obtaining government funding. McLean also mentioned his experience as a student working with the Dufferin County Roads Department. One can see McLean’s submitted biography and those of the other candidates in the agenda for the March 18, 2021 council meeting.

A council seat for Melancthon Township was declared vacant on November 19, 2020, following the resignation of David Thwaites. Shortly before this, council members voted to give themselves a 40% pay increase over two years. Melancthon’s Mayor Darren White and former Councillor David Thwaites voted against the raise, while Deputy Mayor Dave Besley, Councillor Margaret Mercer, and Councillor Wayne Hannon voted in favour. Several residents made requests on multiples occasions for the council to reconsider, but they stood firm. Moreover, Councillor Margaret Mercer was asked to resign following the Township of Melancthon being billed for an investigation that Integrity Commissioner Guy Giorno described as “an unnecessary expenditure of the taxpayers’ money.”

The Declaration of Office, formally making a councillor of Melancthon, is scheduled to occur during the next regular council meeting on April 1, 2021.

Correction: Melancthon’s council meeting deciding who would be appointed to council occurred on March 22, 2021.


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