Applications to be accepted to fill vacant council seat in Wasaga Beach
A vacated seat in Wasaga Beach won’t be filled by a byelection or even how town staff recommended.
There were several choices to fill the council seat and town staff thought it should be simple. They recommended appointing the runner-up from the last municipal election.
"I felt we needed to fill that position as quickly as possible and that was the quickest options available,” says town clerk Holly Bryce. “It also goes back to what the electors has requested in the 2014 election by taking the next councillor candidate with the next votes."
That person would have been George Watson. He received 3,000 votes in the last election and was eager to step in.
"I have three terms in 11 years on council and I think I bring corporate knowledge and a great feeling for the community," Watson says.
However, councillors decided that wasn't the way to do it. By a vote of four-to-two, they decided to instead to post the job and then sift through applications.
"The writing seemed to be on the wall. They were looking in a different way to approach it,” Watson says. “Appointing someone is very direct; taking a pool of applications gives them the ability to pick anyone that may suit their agenda possibly."
Watson says he'll still apply for the job.
Political analyst Michael Johns says it's typical to avoid an expensive byelection with two years left in the term, but he cautions they'll need to keep this an open process, since they've taken it out of the hands of voters.
“That will be really imperative on this council, if they're going this route and they make a decision they say this is why we have selected this person, here's their qualifications and the conditions in which we've selected them."
Town officials hope to have the rules in place by the end of next week so they can start receiving applications.
They hope to have the position filled by the end of June.