Four names put forward to fill Council vacancy

Lisa Dumontier

The Municipality of Red Lake will appoint a new Councillor next week to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of Councillor Jason Baker in March. Opting to forgo an expensive by-election, the governing body has 60 days to fill the post and will pick from a list of candidates that includes Balmertown residents Russel Power, Alana Procyk and Carol Baron as well as Red Lake resident Sidney Gould at its May 22nd Open Meeting of Council.

Elected to serve as Council representative with the Municipality of Red Lake in October of 2010, former Balmertown resident Jason Baker was on an approved leave of absence from his civic responsibilities when his formal resignation was tendered on March 30th, 2012. Sitting on the Municipal Planning Advisory Committee as well as the Municipal Parks and Recreation Committee, Baker transferred his employment from Goldcorp Red Lake Gold Mines to a mining company in Manitoba in late 2011 which complicated his ability to attend meetings and factored into his decision to vacate his seat on Council.

“It is my hope to return to the Municipality of Red Lake to continue with my civic life as I believe in this community and the people that live in it,” Baker wrote in his letter of resignation. “It has been my privilege to represent and serve with Mayor Phil Vinet, Council and Staff.”

Seeing little good in tapping into taxpayer dollars to fund a by-election for a two-year term, Municipal Council decided after declaring an official vacancy on April 16th that they would move forward with the option to appoint a new Councillor. Issuing a request for interested members of the general public to submit their names for consideration, an official list of candidates was finalised on May 4th and now Council will move to appoint a new member from that catalogue.

Prior to the appointment on May 22nd, each of the four Municipal candidates will be given an opportunity to address Council for a period of not more than ten minutes before being asked to respond to a series of questions predetermined by current members of Council. To be provided a maximum of one minute to answer each question, candidates will be sequestered in a separate room while they await their interview session however will be permitted to join the gallery once their turn has passed. Once Power, Procyk, Baron and Gould have had an opportunity to speak, members of Council will cast a verbal vote and a new Councillor will be appointed to fill the vacancy. According to Municipal Clerk Shelly Kocis, the Declaration of Office will be completed at that time and then the successful candidate will join the other Councillors at the table and the meeting will continue.

As the appointment of a new Councillor will take place at an Open Meeting of Council in Council Chambers in Balmertown, all members of the public are invited and encouraged to attend.

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