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Grand Valley Council Fills Vacancy

Grand Valley Council Fills Vacancy

Paul Latam has been appointed to Grand Valley council!

On July 20, 2021, four Grand Valley residents made their case to fill the vacant council seat. The spot was made available after the resignation of Councillor Elizabeth Taylor, who passed away shortly after. Grand Valley council decided to fill the council vacancy through nomination and appointment. Candidates submitted a letter specifying their qualifications, included in the meeting agenda, and answered questions posed by councillors. Nominees also affirmed that they are legally qualified to hold office and consented to do so if appointed. The names of the applicants were Denise Duern, Jonathan Katz, Paul Latam, and Dr. Rashaad Nauth-Ali.

Grand Valley’s Mayor Steve Soloman began the session by greeting nominees and acknowledging the passing of Councillor Elizabeth Taylor. Soloman then congratulated candidates for their efforts.

 “Some of you have been here a while, some of you have not,” said Mayor Steve Soloman. “Regardless of your motivation, it’s good just to help out and try to be part of the community.”

The meeting was held virtually to accommodate social distancing and ensure the full participation of applicants and the public. Each councillor was allowed to ask two questions of each candidate, with a two-minute response time given. Nominees were sequestered during the proceedings until it was their turn to address Grand Valley council. The order of speakers was determined through the drawing of names. Unlike with Melancthon’s council vacancy, members of the public were not given the opportunity to ask questions of prospective councillors at the meeting. 

Denise Duern proclaims that she has lived in Grand Valley for over 20 years and was born and raised in East Luther. Duern is an early childhood educator who has worked with the County of Dufferin and is currently with the Upper Grand District School Board. She wants to help maintain the beauty of the town, ‘from the farmlands to the downtown core,’ and for people to continue to feel safe while Grand Valley grows. 

Listen to Denise Duern’s address to Grand Valley council and her response to questions at the July 20, 2021, meeting.

Denise Duern – July 20 2021 Council Meeting – Council Nominations

Dr. Rashaad Nauth-Ali moved to Grand Valley in 2020 and is currently a Mayberry Hill Community Association director. Dr. Nauth-Ali is the clinic director and owner of the Grand Valley Functional Integrity Therapies clinic, in addition to the Brampton location. Dr. Nauth-Ali hopes to serve on Grand Valley council to bring a ‘fresh and diverse perspective’ and help maintain the safe and inclusive community while promoting a greater sense of cohesion between new and established residents.

Listen to Dr. Rashaad Nauth-Ali’s address to Grand Valley council and his response to questions at the July 20, 2021, meeting.

Dr Rashaad Nauth-Ali – July 20 2021 Council Meeting – Council Nominations

Jonathan Katz says that he came to Grand Valley’s Mayberry Hill in 2017 with his family, arriving from Milton. Katz is a Research and Business Intelligence Manager with the Region of Peel, primarily supporting the Human Services area. Katz states he is an openly gay individual and has concerns about the lack of LGTBQ+ representation in rural government, especially across Dufferin County. Katz affirms Grand Valley is a ‘very open, warm, and accepting community’ and says the council must represent the town’s diversity. During his address to Grand Valley council, Katz asserted that he could provide unique insights into the town’s new residents through experience gained by interacting with those that have come and gone from the Thomasfield development since its inception.

Listen to Jonathan Katz’s address to Grand Valley council and his response to questions at the July 20, 2021, meeting.

Jonathan Katz – July 20 2021 Council Meeting – Council Nominations

Paul Latam states that he relocated to Mayberry Hill in Grand Valley with his family in 2019 from Fergus. He views being appointed to council as an opportunity to get more involved in the community, as COVID-19 has limited the opportunity to do so. Latam represents European agricultural equipment manufacturers through a dealer network to sell their machinery. He is also a regular attendee of Grand Valley council meetings and asserts he understands the problems, dilemmas, and issues of the town. Latam also feels he would be a good representative for young families in the area.

Listen to Paul Latam’s address to Grand Valley council and his response to questions at the July 20, 2021, meeting.

Paul Latam – July 20 2021 Council Meeting – Council Nominations

One at a time, the four Grand Valley councillors were put into a virtual room to confer their vote to the town’s clerk. Councillors voted for one applicant only, with the appointee requiring three out of four votes. If a majority of votes were not obtained on the first try, the nominees who received no support would be eliminated from any subsequent rounds of voting. This would repeat for a second and third time if needed. Instead of performing a fourth vote, if it had been required, the prospects who had received support would be put into a basket with the drawing of the successful candidate by a lot. 

After just one round, Paul Latam was chosen to fill the seat. Mayor Soloman welcomed the newest member of Grand Valley council and thanked all the participants for applying.

“Thank you all for showing lots of interest in your community, and I really hope you all have your names in next October to try this again for real,” declared Mayor Soloman, thanking candidates for the input they provided on the town. “That was very difficult for council to decide on.”

Paul Latam will be sworn in as councillor at the next Town of Grand Valley council meeting on August 10, 2021.

References – Grand Valley Council Fills Vacancy

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