Town council gearing up for elections

By Merna Emara
Staff Writer
memara@fortfrances.com

A few council decisions are underway to get ready for the municipal elections in October 2022.

The Administration and Finance Executive Committee meeting saw a couple of items pertaining to the Municipal and School Board Elections, the first being an amendment to the meeting schedules, and canceling the Oct. 24, 2022 meeting because it is election day.

Municipal clerk Gabrielle Lecuyer wrote a report to council and provided the facts around the Procedural Bylaw as it relates to council meetings. She said in the report that staff is recommending that council cancel that Oct. 24, 2022, meeting to allow all the resources to be focused on election day.

Lecuyer also further recommended that all executive committee meetings scheduled the week of October 17 to October 21 be canceled because they are providing advance polls.

“Staffing resources will be providing election official services to the Voter Help Centers that week,” she said in the report.

Lecuyer also said in the report that council can call a meeting, should an urgent matter require one, pending that the matter is not subject to lame duck restrictions should council be in a lame duck position.

Lame Duck council was also discussed at the meeting. Lame Duck refers to the period after nomination day, Aug. 19, 2022, and after voting day, Oct. 24, 2020. During this period, the Municipal Act restricts acts that a council could take after these periods.

This includes the appointment or removal from office of any officer in the municipality, hiring or dismissing any employee of the municipality, disposition of any real or personal property of the municipality which which has a value exceeding $50,000 at the time of disposal; and making any expenditure or incurring any other liability which exceeds $50,000.

Council will also decide on a bylaw to delegate town CAO Faisal Anwar to take action, where necessary, on certain acts during the Lame Duck. This will be in effect until the new council’s inauguration on Nov. 21, 2022.

Lecuyer said should an urgent situation present itself, then the new council would be sworn in early before the public inauguration.

Finally, the Corporate Resource Policy was also discussed at the meeting. This policy clarifies the expectations to all candidates, with the intent to reduce the possibility that either an individual candidate, council member or staff unintentionally violate the Municipal Elections Act, a report submitted by Lecuyer to the committee said.

According to the policy, council members who are running for reelection should refrain from identifying themselves in any online media or content generated during the election period by the title of their office, such as mayor or councillor.

Another provision is to also not use the services of the integrity commissioner during the election period relating to their campaign.

“That said a policy cannot restrict lawful access as legislated in the Municipal Act or Conflict of interest act to obtain advice from the Integrity Commissioner that is the right of a member of council if it relates to the performance of their duties,” Lecuyer wrote in the report.

Council will look at these recommendations at the meeting scheduled for Feb. 28, 2022.