Town axes committee members; to hire EDO

Town officials remain tight-lipped about the details of a closed session of council on Aug. 13.

But it now appears an odd resolution passed after that meeting expressing support for two staff members and the chair of the Erin Economic Development Committee (EEDC) is related to the dismissal of four members of the same committee.

Mayor Allan Alls confirmed on Monday four EEDC members were recently cut, but he would not provide names or the reasons for the dismissals.

Former member Mary Shields said she was let go by Alls over the phone but was not told why.

“It was totally out of the blue,” she said. “I just got a phone call saying ‘you’ve been terminated’ and I said, ‘Oh, can I ask why?’ (He replied) ‘I can’t tell you.’”

Shields confirmed Chris Bailey, the representative for the Village of Erin BIA, was also removed from the committee, but she would not name the other two members.

Shields, the East Wellington Chamber of Commerce representative on the committee, said she thought her termination was related to her speaking out against the process for the economic development plan presented to council as a draft document on Aug. 11.

“I was asking, with others, if we could please delay the presentation of the draft economic development plan until the committee had a chance to look at it and comment on it,” she said.

Shields explained she was concerned about the speed of the process as well as the validity of the focus groups and a few of the plan’s action items.

“I don’t understand the rush with such an important document,” she said.

The final document was to be presented on Sept. 15, but during council’s Sept. 1 meeting, economic  development coordinator Bob Cheetum told council he is postponing it.

He said he is offering more time for public input on the plan.

Public comments are now due on Oct. 1 and the final document will be presented in mid-October.

Cheetum also proposed meetings with the chamber of commerce and the BIA to discuss the plan this month.

At the Sept. 1 meeting, council appointed David Doan to the EEDC to represent the chamber, and allowed CAO Kathryn Ironmonger to advertise for the new position of economic development officer.