by Christa Lowry
I have been receiving many questions about the process to fill the Deputy Mayor vacancy. My intention with this article is to provide information and clarity to a wider audience who may have similar questions about this process and its timeline.
According to the Municipal Act, when filling a vacancy Council has the option to hold a by-election or to appoint. There is no provincial legislation directing how an appointment is to be made; however, Mississippi Mills itself does have an Appointment Policy in place based on best practices from other municipalities.
On February 19th, a majority of Council chose the Appointment Policy as the preferred option to fill the vacancy. Notice of the appointment process was published in the local papers, the municipal website and via social media for three weeks. By the deadline on March 15th, the following six candidates had applied to be considered for the Deputy Mayor Position:
Part 1 of the Appointment Process is the candidate interviews which will be held at a Special Meeting of Council on Monday, March 25th at 6:00 p.m. at the Almonte Old Town Hall. Like at all Council meetings, the public is welcome to attend. Each candidate will have up to 15 minutes to provide answers to the following questions which were determined by Council on March 5th:
- Please address why you would like to be a Member of Council and elaborate on your long and short term visions for the Municipality of Mississippi Mills.
- What do you see as the immediate challenges facing the Municipality and Lanark County and what are your suggestions as to how to address them?
- One of the roles of Council is to maintain the financial integrity of the Municipality. How does your experience lend itself to fulfilling this responsibility?
- Council may make decisions that not all members of the public agree with. Outline how you would address an unhappy citizen and explain how your experiences have equipped you to deal with these types of situations. Please include your thoughts on social media.
- The position of Deputy Mayor acts as the Mayor in his/her absence. Can you highlight what qualities, attributes and experience you have that demonstrate consensus building and leadership?
Part 2 of the Appointment Process is the selection of the Deputy Mayor which will take place at a second Special Meeting of Council on Thursday March 28th at 6:00pm at the Almonte Old Town Hall. Again, the public is welcome to attend. Council members will vote by ballot which they must sign. The Clerk will collect all ballots and read aloud each member of Council’s name and their selected candidate before announcing the tallies of all votes.
The first round of voting will be to shortlist the six candidates to three candidates. In subsequent rounds, all candidates receiving no votes or the candidate receiving the least number of votes will be excluded. The process will repeat until the candidate receiving the greatest number of votes cast has also received a majority (minimum of 4 out of a total of 6 possible votes). In the event of a tie, the Clerk shall select the successful candidate by lot.
After the selection has been made, Council will pass a bylaw appointing the candidate and he/she will take the Oath of Office. The appointed candidate will participate in Council Orientation on Monday April 1st and will attend their first regular Council Meeting on April 2nd.
To read personal statements from applicants or review more details about the appointment process, please go to: https://www.mississippimills.ca/en/townhall/elections.asp