UGDSB will appoint, not elect, new Orangeville trustee

GUELPH – The Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) is accepting applications for trustee representing the Orangeville area. 

Kenn Manzerolle, the former Orangeville trustee, announced his resignation during the UGDSB meeting on Sept. 12.

At that time trustees discussed two possible paths forward: holding a by-election, or appointing a replacement. 

On Sept. 26, UGDSB staff presented to the board a report outlining the cost of a by-election and historical voter turnout in Orangeville. 

According to the town:

  • the estimated the cost of a by-election at $110,000;
  • an election would need to occur between Dec. 11 and Jan. 10; and
  • last year voter turnout was 27% in Orangeville. 

The timing aligns with the December holiday season, which is expected to result in less public engagement and to have “consider adverse impacts on voter turnout,” the report states.

“The timing also aligns with the winter season and increased risk of inclement weather having an impact.” 

Given the cost and timing, compounded by the fact that Manzerolle was the only candidate for the role in 2022, trustees voted unanimously against holding a by-election. 

“I think engagement would be limited, and $100,000 seems a little excessive,” said trustee Katherine Hauser.  

Trustee Luke Weiler noted “my initial instinct is to support an election, but I think that there’s a number of reasons not to do that now.

“The cost is a consideration, but I think that we pay for elections generally and that is the price of doing business in a democracy.

“But it’s the timing and the low voter turnout in previous elections as well as the fact that trustee Manzerolle was acclaimed to the position – all these things give me concern … and I’m comfortable in these circumstances using an appointment process.” 

Methods for appointing a new trustee include: 

  • offering the role to the second place candidate, which is not applicable as Manzerolle was acclaimed to his position; 
  • offering the the role to a qualified member of the UGDSB community; or 
  • seeking applications for the role. 

The board selected the application method, and will advertise the vacancy to Orangeville residents. 

Four trustees formed an ad hoc committee to determine the details and timeline of the appointment process. 

Trustee Lynn Topping was selected as chair of the committee, and trustees Hauser, Jen Edwards and Martha MacNeil will join her. The committee expects to meet once or twice. 

Applicants for the Orangeville trustee must be Canadian citizens, at least 18 years old, reside within the jurisdiction of the UGDSB, not current employees of any district school board or school authority in Ontario, and not disqualified from holding office by any legislation. 

The position must be filled by Dec. 11 – within 90 days of the post becoming vacant.  

The vacant office has a remaining term left until Nov. 14, 2026.