Puslinch Township hopes to have a new councillor in place by end of December

ABERFOYLE – In the wake of Ken Roth’s resignation from Puslinch council  in late October, the township is taking steps to have a replacement in place by the end of the year.

In an interview with the Wellington Advertiser CAO/clerk Patrick Moyle stated that on Oct. 24 Roth came to the municipal building with his letter of resignation.

Roth handed in his laptop and incidentals, met with staff, then left the building.

Moyle said he understood that Roth had sold his local property and moved outside of Puslinch and therefore no longer qualified to serve on council.

Moyle then advised members of council to begin filling the position as quickly as possible.

On Nov. 6, Roth’s nameplate was gone from the council table as council sought the best means to find a replacement councillor.

As part of the staff report declaring the position held by Roth vacant, Moyle recommended staff be directed to proceed with an appointment process to fill the vacancy as per the council vacancy corporate policy.

Council approved the direction of appointing a new council member rather than holding a mid-term election.

Councillor John Sepulis suggested council should send a letter to councillor Roth thanking him for his contributions.

Councillor Matthew Bulmer supported the idea of appointing a councillor.

He asked for some clarification to the process prior to the next council meeting.

Moyle said this policy was  created in 2016 when council needed a replacement on council.

He added an information session for prospective councillors will be held on Nov. 25 at 7pm in the council chamber.

“The meeting would provide the basic information as to what is a councillor, what are the roles, responsibilities and obligations … sort of a mini Civics 101,” Moyle said.

He said a decision on the appointment would be made on Dec. 18.

Mayor James Seeley said the reason council was moving ahead with the appointment process “is elections are very expensive,” and cited “our current budget restraints.”

Seeley added this approach would also allow a new councillor to be in place before the 2020 budget is finalized.

“I encourage councillors to reach out to the community and let them know we have a vacancy,” he said.

The term of the position is from the date of council appointment on Dec. 18, 2019 for the remainder of the 2018-2022 term of council, ending Nov. 14, 2022.

A nominee for municipal office must be a qualified municipal elector as set out in the Municipal Elections Act, 1996.

Qualified electors must be:

– 18 years of age or older;

– a Canadian citizen;

– a resident of Puslinch Township, or an owner or tenant of land in the township or the spouse of an owner or tenant; and

– not prohibited from voting under any other Act or disqualified from holding municipal office.

Interested nominees must complete a consent of nominee form and a declaration of qualification through the clerk’s office.

Nominations will be accepted by the clerk’s office during regular business hours until Dec. 12, 2019 at 2pm.

Certified registered nominees will be afforded the opportunity to address council for a period of not more than 10 minutes and will be asked questions by council in an open council meeting to be held on Dec. 18 at 7pm in the council chambers.

For further information on the process contact the municipal office.