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Only 20 people have filed to run for council seat – deadline looming

Letter to the Editor

As of Tuesday, July 10, with less than three weeks to go until the close of nominations, only 20 people have filed papers to run for a position on the 2018 County Council.

Only eight of the current 15 councillors have filed to run again for a councillor position (plus two for mayor).

Nobody has filed in South Marysburgh, and there may be acclamations in Athol, North Marysburgh and Sophiasburgh.

There are important issues needing the attention of the next council — affordable housing, short-term rentals, residential development, social assistance, heritage protection, upgrading of roads and other infrastructure, financial stability. We need a strong and diverse council to address these topics.

Part of the problem may be the early close of nominations (July 27) for the election on October 22; also the need to obtain 25 signatures to qualify.

You don’t have to live in the ward in which you run, but you should have an interest in what’s going on there.

Please give some thought to running for council, and contributing your energy and skills to improving life in the County.

Gary Mooney
Hillier Ward

Filed Under: News from Everywhere Else

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  1. Argyle says:

    Gary, council incumbents Hull and Epstein saw the writing on the wall. Voting not to downsize council after campaigning to do so was fatal to their chances of getting re-elected . Let’s hope the newly elected members for Picton leave their own agendas home and do what the residents of the town ask.

  2. Susan says:

    Reduce Council size! Voter equity! With the Turbines gone,you want MPP Smith to make another miracle?

  3. Mark says:

    Premier Ford is introducing legislation to reduce Toronto’s Council size from 47 to 25. Wish he would make a huge reduction here as well and provide voter equity.

  4. Ken Globe says:

    I can see some of the incumbents not seeking another term. On Facedbook, there are two local busybody groups, and whenever someone doesn’t like what’s happening locally, no matte how trivial, the mayor and a few of the councilors repeatedly get tagged in those posts. To me, it’s not near enough money to put up with demands on your time.

  5. Gary Mooney says:

    Thanks to a few last minute nominations (and withdrawals), there are 37 candidates for Council, including 7 women (19%). Only one acclamation, in Sophiasburgh.

    If memory serves, in 2014 there were 43 candidates, including 8 women and one acclamation (Bloomfield).

    There are three candidates for Mayor, but not including Paul Boyd, who switched his nomination to Councillor for Ameliasburgh.

    Wards with more than one Councillor attracted the most attention: 8 candidates in Ameliasburgh and 6 in Picton.

    In South Marysburgh, Mike Schellenberg withdrew his nomination.

    Incumbents not running again include Mayor Quaiff and Councillors Epstein, Gale and Hull.

    So, despite the slow start, it looks like there will be a lively election campaign in PEC.

  6. Fred says:

    Sophiasburgh & Athol appear pleased with status quo .

  7. Emily says:

    Wow! I think Whiten takes Mayor.

  8. Gary says:

    Boyd withdraws from Mayor
    Richard Whiten files for Mayor
    Boyd,Bolik,McLeoud file for Ameliasburg
    Baldwin files for Hillier
    Ziegler and Sword file for South Marysburgh

  9. Dennis Fox says:

    Thanks Gary – I hope that all the wards have a contest. As a Sophiasburgh resident,the only councillor out here that I have seen get involved in Sophiasburgh issues is Kevin Gale. I hope to have the opportunity to ask Sophiasburgh candidates what their vision is for this ward – right now we need a library branch, an archive/museum keeping the history of this ward(like many others do)for public viewing, a seniors and youth activity program, a safe traffic program to address speeding, aggressive driving and establishing proper sight lines through Northport. Bill Roberts is offend heard talking about his vision for new business – and yet there is nothing here as basic as a convenience store.

    Yes, I would love to have the opportunity to ask candidates for Sophiasburgh what they plan to do to help the people HERE?

  10. Gary Mooney says:

    As of close of business Wednesday, there were 30 people running for Council, including 3 for Mayor and 6 for the 2 seats in Picton. Five of the 30 (17%) are women.

    Two wards, Sophiasburgh and Athol have only one candidate so far, but I’m aware of someone who intends to file in Athol. So it may be only Bill Roberts who gets a free ride back onto Council.

  11. Dennis Fox says:

    I don’t disagree with the idea of increasing council’s pay, HOWEVER, it is hard idea to accept when they have rigged their size and ignored their own process to protect their jobs. Bottom line – we will still have 14 elected reps for only 24,000 people. Ridiculous!

  12. Gary Mooney says:

    I’m told that there will be at least one more candidate in South Marysburgh, so no acclamation there.

    With two women running in Picton, we’re now up to four women in total.

    Two acclamations are still possible — Athol and Sophiasburgh, where incumbents are running.

  13. Dave Thomas says:

    There is a mismatch between what the County electorate expects of its councilors and what they receive as compensation. County voters are quite sophisticated and expect their councilors to take on a myriad of challenges which are simply out of step with what a part-time, poorly paid council is capable of handling. You get what you pay for. While I don’t follow Council’s decisions as closely as I should, I have been taken aback by how often Council seems so out of step with today’s realities. If you want better councilors, pay them more and attract people who are up to the task.

  14. Fred says:

    Can we get an Athol race?

  15. Jackie Soorsma says:

    We heard the candidate for South Marysburgh on Grapevine today, 99.3 FM. Michael Schellenberg along with Jennifer Ackerman and Christine Harrison. He stated he moved to the County in January 2018. Lynn Pickering was interviewing them. Listen to the 6:00 PM repeat of today’s Grapevine.

  16. Susan says:

    So we have 2 Bloomfield residents running for a Picton seat. And we have 1 Picton resident running for a Bloomfield/Hallowell seat.

  17. Gary Mooney says:

    Well, there are now five people running in Picton, so no acclamation there. One is current Councillor Barry Turpin, who had his ward of Bloomfield merged into Hallowell.

    So now only three wards — Athol, Sophiasburgh and South Marysburgh — where there is a threat of acclamation. Less than 96 hours before nominations close at 2 pm on Friday.

  18. Mark says:

    The Council size issue has created a lack of trust in Council and processes. Many of still do not have equal representation. It works for Ameliasburgh however as a voter there has 3 voices at the horseshoe to my 1. Imagine in this day and age still being denied voter equity.

  19. Dennis Fox says:

    Snowman has made excellent points. What was overlooked was Council’s own performance as a reason for the lack of interest.

    But for me, council lost me years ago when at first not only did they refuse to take a position on wind powered turbines, a few councillors had even made personal deals with the wind developers and I also remember a councillor even arranging a public meeting in Milford so a wind developer could convince the locals of how wonderful it all was.

    Secondly, was the size of council issue – what a fiasco! From ignored public input, surveys and a community vote – all went ignored – some councillors even openly lied about it. If you recall, The Times surveyed the candidates prior to the last municipal election. Based on the responses, the majority supported a much smaller council(much smaller than what was passed) – most of those councillors (both new and old) lied to the public just to get voted in. To be fair, our current Mayor and a few councillors pushed for a position on IWTs and for a smaller council.

    Most of the councillors lied and let this community down. Maybe this current council’s performance has a lot to do with the lack of desire to serve?? I know it has a lot to do with my attitude towards them. We still have a few days left before the deadline – here’s hoping that more step forward.

  20. Snowman says:

    There are lots of reasons for the lack of candidates.
    -low pay when the hours involved are considered
    -council is too large for one individual to make a difference
    -4 year terms are too long
    -general dislike/mistrust of politicians
    -personal attacks over policy differences
    such as we saw in The Wellington Times recently.
    -voter apathy
    – relentless and multiple criticisms in forums like this one on virtually every issue big or small
    -the lack of a culture of public service in general
    -unrealistic expectations by voters (such as drastic lowering of water rates are some how magically going to happen,or Highway 49 will be rebuilt next year)
    -steep learning curve for new members; Years ago there was a step up process of Town/Township Councilor, Deputy Reeve,Reeve etc. not any more, baptism by fire

    Many ,many people served a term or two on the old smaller councils and in their own way have helped build this County,and then moved on. No we cant go back, but ……

  21. Dennis Fox says:

    The last thing this community needs are acclaimed positions with inexperienced people. Let’s hope this situation corrects itself while there is still time, for both frst time candidates and acclaimed incumbents. If it doesn’t, attitudes soon change from being acclaimed to being anointed!

  22. Fred says:

    2 year terms as prior, would encourage many more candidates. 4 years is a huge commitment not knowing life changes.

  23. Gary says:

    The dreaded water issue. The last action and solution was to raise rates 5% every year. Great work!

  24. Argyle says:

    Emily, it is my hope that the councillors for Picton, whether they are acclaimed or voted in are more vocal and pro-active in looking out for the towns interests on council. The current councillors were mainly interested in their own agendas, as opposed to their constituents……

  25. Emily says:

    Presently there will not be an election in Picton.

  26. Argyle says:

    Let’s hope that Picton gets two new councillors elected that will be active in representing the town on council.

  27. Gary Mooney says:

    Last week, 3 people filed to run for Council, bring the total to 23.

    BUT there is the possibility of FOUR acclamations across the nine County Wards.

    And only TWO women among the 23 candidates.

    Five business days left before nominations close.

  28. Steve Staniek says:

    This County has deep problems when it comes to local government, and people from away are beginning to recognize just how bad things are here. One of the biggest problems is a lack of competent politicians who know how, and are willing to govern democratically.
    Anyone can create toxic legislation, and our councils have stuck to the oppressive, colonial thinking that created the criminal state of Canada with the help of local political leaders like John A Macdonald who created legal hell for millions of indigenous Canadians via the racist Indian Act.
    Once elected, (some) local politicians feel free to throw those who elected them under the bus, and ignore their pleas for the restoration of property rights in the County taken by the Heritage Committee in 2012, and public safety on the Skyway Bridge. These self-interested politicians refuse to serve us the electorate and refuse to restore our human and property rights, and to protect us on the MTO approved death trap called the Skyway Bridge, with a protected walkway for pedestrians. A protect walkway would in fact reduce road risks significantly for everyone on that bridge, not just motorists. Quaiff and Roberts played dirty politics and lost. I would explain in detail, but this board will not allow it.

  29. Susan says:

    Incumbent Dave Harrison files for North Marysburgh.

  30. Dennis Fox says:

    Susan – who is he and do you have any info about him?

  31. Susan says:

    Michael Schellenberg files for South Marysburgh.

  32. Gary Mooney says:

    Thanks, Chuck. However, I”m quite active behind the scenes, and have some credibility with County Council and staff. If I see something that can be improved, I make suggestions direct to County government. For me, this is how best I can contribute.

  33. Dennis Fox says:

    I think some good comments have been made that might shed some light onto why more people aren’t signing up to run. However, I would like to bring a different point of view (if I can)….

    a/ while few would want to go through again the long public debate re: size of council – if the right people can get elected with the view of really making a change, it could be done fairly quickly. Most of the work and debate have already taken place. It will no doubt ruffle some feathers – but it is needed for the sake of this community and for council’s own reputation and credibility.

    b/ sure the job can get busy from time to time, so expect that – but making council a well running and organized operation can avoid a lot of wasted time and extra work, PLUS it is the right thing to do! Things don’t have to remain as they are – people who are prepared to work together can do wonders and end up saving everyone a lot of grief, time, work – and the taxpayers a ton of money to!

    c/ the only full time job on council is the mayor’s position. The rest of council is designed to be a part time position – paying about $20K/year. (Which is pretty good) I believe that due to the large size of council, far too many of them have made it into a full time job – trying to micro-manage and doing staff jobs poorly. Too many councillors have too much time on their hands – being overworked is not their problem.

    d/ hopefully a new council will look seriously at how to improve their operation and to attract public participation. The first place to start is the time of day when meetings are held. Many people work during the day and day time meetings discourage them from attending and preventing their participation in our democracy. Could this be one of the reasons why so few have stepped forward to run?

    With the right people (who are elected by the public), serving on council can be a very satisfying and enjoyable experience. Right now with so many possible acclamations – it fosters a false sense of democracy, it represents no one and for the system there is no victory here. In every way, so many acclamations represents a false victory for those involved – and it will be harmful to our community in the long run.

    I hope that more people will sign up and run – PEC needs you!

  34. Emily says:

    I believe that when Council did not take appropriate action on the overwhelming majority of taxpayers concerns that had voiced change in Council size and makeup, and were ignored that they the citizens at that point lost trust in the system. Few want to be part of that now.

  35. Chuck says:

    You would bring a valuable voice to Council,Gary.

  36. Gary Mooney says:

    I missed the possible acclamation in Picton, with only two candidates for two seats, so four acclamations are possible, five if and when a single candidates files in South Marysburgh.

    And only two women candidates, both incumbents.

    This is an appalling situation.

  37. Gary says:

    Too much time, too many calls and way too little compensation.

  38. Dennis Fox says:

    Perhaps what is being revealed by this low number of nomination papers filed is the true and more accurate count on the number of council positions really required – 8 councillors and a mayor. Sounds just about right, don’t you think?

    I know, I’m sound facetious when I say this(but it is how I feel). However, why is there so little interest in local politics? It is the most immediate and one that affects our lives more than any other level of government. I hope many more file to run. Come on PEC residents!

  39. Dennis Fox says:

    I believe this letter is addressing a very serious issue – PEC needs a representative democracy. At this time, most of the positions on Council are not being contested – and in some cases the only candidates are those who have never done the job before!

    With only two weeks before nomination deadline, let’s hope more come forward to run. We can all guess at why this situation is happening, but I hope our current Council will reflect on how they might have improved this situation – it ain’t a good one!

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