Vacancy on Billings council leads to an important decision

Appointing the runner-up is a cost effective solution

To the Expositor:

Re: Billings Councillor Announces Resignation

With the resignation of Councillor Tom Imrie, Billings council now has an important decision to make on how to fill the vacant seat. The options include holding a by-election or making an appointment. While a by-election is obviously the most democratic, with over half the term of council now completed, a by-election using mail-in ballots would seem to be a lengthy, costly and unneeded expense for the community. That being said, council should still consider what is the most democratic and transparent approach to filling the vacancy. An option that council has at its disposal, and it is a practice that has been widely used across Ontario, including recently in Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands, is to appoint the next runner-up in the last election. It is affordable for the community, and it is respectful of the will of the people. Conducted in an open manner, appointing the runner-up who was within 10 votes would balance a desire to heed the will of the voters, not just the choice of the four remaining council members, with the need to be responsible with finances. I would propose that this is the best available option to council under the current circumstances.

Francine Ense

Bay Street, West Bay

Billings Township