West Nipissing council is approaching two years with a vacant seat, and the municipality is now accepting applications for the position. There will be no election for the Ward 7 Verner seat. Instead, interested residents can fill out an application and drop it off the municipal office no later than 2:00 p.m. on June 6th, 2022. You do not need to live in the ward to run for the seat.
The application is simple, requesting your name and address and a signature indicating the applicant is “legally qualified to be elected and to hold the office” for which they are applying, the municipality outlined on its website. A list of signatures supporting the applicant is not required, although a personal statement outlining one’s qualifications and background information is required.
Once the deadline passes and the applications are collected, council will hold a special meeting to interview the candidates on June 9th at 6:00 p.m. The meeting will be held in council chambers at 101-225 Holditch Street, in Sturgeon Falls. If a potential candidate cannot attend in-person, council will allow for electronic participation.
See: Municipal Affairs is making sure Verner has a seat at council
The seat must be filled no later than June 30th, 2022, as per an order from the Ministry of Affairs and Housing. At a special meeting of council on May 26th, Nigel Bellchamber, a facilitator appointed by the ministry, outlined the interview process to West Nipissing councillors.
He mentioned that he expects five minutes of introductory remarks from each candidate, followed by a 15-minute window for questions. “The important thing is that everybody be treated the same way,” Bellchamber said, suggesting council draft a list of questions beforehand, “to be fair to the candidates.”
“I think it is possible to make that deadline” to elect a new councillor, he explained, “and avoid any penalty the ministry might impose.” That penalty includes dissolving council and possibly fining individual councillors up to $5,000 if the Verner seat is not filled.
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca