by John Muston
The lead article in last week’s edition of the Gazette raises some serious questions for residents of Almonte ward. At a time when transparency has become an overarching responsibility for all levels of government, the council of Mississippi Mills has rejected the advice of their clerk regarding the most transparent method to fill the unfortunate vacancy arising from the tragic passing of Cllr Cameron.
Clerk Shawna Stone was quoted as saying that “The procedure that has been developed is to go with the last runner up. It’s the most open and transparent and my suggestion was for council to go with that procedure.” This would enable Mr Minnile as the candidate with the fifth highest vote count, to take a seat on council.
However this wasn’t good enough for council , who want to “refine this procedure for us that works”.
At the last election the voters of Almonte ward spoke through the ballot, and those results should be respected. It is not for council to pick a replacement, but the electorate of Almonte ward. Nobody wants the cost of a by-election, so the logical solution should first be an invitation to Mr. Minnille to fill the vacancy. Should he not wish to accept, other solutions could then be looked into.
Until that time, council would do well to remember that they have an obligation to respect the wishes of the people. A representative for Almonte ward should be selected by residents of that ward, not a committee of all wards.