Billings looks to fill vacant council position

Tom Imrie at Kagawong Summerfest this summer.

KAGAWONG—Billings Township council is looking to hear from residents who would like to be considered as a potential candidate for the vacant councillor position.

At a meeting this past Monday, council officially declared a vacancy on council, with the recent resignation of former councillor Tom Imrie. Council passed a motion accepting Mr. Imrie’s resignation with regret.

Council was informed that councillor Brian Parker (who did not attend last week’s meeting) had requested that council put off a decision being made on how to fill the vacant councillor position until its next meeting. Clerk Kathy McDonald also informed council, when asked, that a by-election would cost a minimum of $8,000 as was the case the last time the township took this route to fill a vacant council seat.

“Several people have already expressed an interest in filling the vacant councillor position,” said Mayor Austin Hunt.

It was noted by Councillor Sharon Alkenbrack that council has a time frame of 60 days in which it has to have a new councillor in place (mid to late January to have a new person in place or an election having been declared).

“So we have several options to consider, including calling a by-election, advertise for those interested or appointing someone for council,” said Councillor Barb Erskine. “Holding a by-election would be expensive and an election would probably take place between January and April which would be an extreme burden on staff (considering having an election and getting all the year end and next budget) financials work completed.

“I would favour taking applications from those people that want to be considered for council,” said Councillor Erskine. “I wonder if we should advertise (for the position) and people who are interested could send in a resume indicating what they have taken part in the township-community over the past five years, and their availability for meetings. There is a fair bit of preparation required for those that might be interested.”

Ms. Alkenbrack said, “I’d like to have us appoint someone from the people who have sent in a request to be considered. But in all fairness, a lot of people may not have heard there is a vacant position on council, so haven’t had a chance to come forward. We have one month to go in the year, and I don’t think we have $8,000-10,000 set aside in our budget to spend on a by-election.”

“I would think we should be advertising for those people who are interested,” said Mayor Hunt.

And for those who have already sent in a letter asking for consideration to be a councillor can add to it, it was agreed. 

Mayor Hunt pointed out that Councillor Parker had indicated previously he was in favour of council advertising for candidates to come forward with their interest of being a councillor.

Council passed a resolution to have the clerk advertise in the Island newspapers for those who are interested in the vacant council position to apply with a resume.