South Bruce council takes care of business before lame duck period

·2 min read

SOUTH BRUCE – South Bruce council officially entered into a “lame duck” period on Aug. 23 to await the upcoming municipal election.

A report submitted by CAO Leeanne Martin provided the following information about the lame duck period to councillors at the regular council meeting on Aug. 20.

“Section 275 of the Municipal Act prohibits council from performing certain actions in a municipal election year where it is determined that there will be a material change in its membership during the next term of office. This is commonly referred to as the ‘restricted acts clause.’”

More commonly known as “lame duck period” prevents council from appointing or removing any officer of the municipality, hiring or dismissing any municipal employee or disposing of any real or personal property of the municipality with a value over $50,000, or incurring any expenditures or liabilities exceeding $50,000.

The first of two potential lame duck periods was triggered on Nomination Day – Aug. 19, as there was not a chance for 75 per cent of the current council to be re-elected.

This would have required a chance of six or more of the existing council members being re-elected. Since the first period was triggered, the restricted acts clause will continue until Nov. 14, 2022.

On Mar. 8, to ensure no disruption to services during the lame duck period, council passed a bylaw that allows the CAO and the municipal treasurer to be jointly appointed as signing authorities “for expenditures, outside the current approved budgets, exceeding $50,000, but no greater than $150,000 and delegated authority, including authority to execute the agreement of purchase and sale, pertaining to the disposition of any real or personal property of the municipality which has a value exceeding $50,000 at the time of disposal.”

The CAO has the authority to approve organizational changes that do not impact council-approved mandates and maintain or improve current service levels with provisions:

- The total cost of the changes, including termination costs, if applicable, is available within the total annual compensation budget approved by council; and

- The number of full-time equivalent positions within the corporation is not increased.

The authority of the CAO set out in subsection four also includes:

- The creation, deletion, transfer, or reclassification of positions, scope changes, changes to organizational structures, and changes to service delivery mechanisms;

- The approval of the reclassification, transfer, and scope change of any position but shall not include any Council-appointed position. Should delegated authority be exercised, the sitting council will be informed by way of an information report at the next regularly scheduled or special meeting called for this purpose.

Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times