On May 10th, West Nipissing councillors met via Zoom for a special meeting. Kathy Horgan was there as well, representing the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, to “follow up on the Minister’s letter from April 25th.”
Horgan was referring to a letter Minister Steven Clark recently sent to West Nipissing’s mayor and council to urge them to fill a vacant council seat. The Ward 7 seat representing Verner has been vacant for close to two years, empty since former councillor Jeremy Seguin resigned in July 2020.
See: Minister declares West Nipissing council shall fill empty seat
Clark helms the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and his letter informed councillors that he would assign a representative to join upcoming council meetings in West Nipissing, who will “assist council to fill the Ward 7 seat on or before June 30, 2022.”
Horgan mentioned the ministry is also keen to help to “provide strategic advice to council” regarding how best to fill that vacant chair and will comb through the Municipality’s “various policies and procedures to ensure we have a good understanding of how they were working in your municipality.”
This research will help develop “a process for filling that vacancy,” and might serve as a guide for similar situations in the future.
Horgan explained that this process “will happen quickly” and expects a ministry appointed facilitator to start making plans with the municipality “before the end of this week.”
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