By Kirk Starratt
Kings County council has set the dates for special elections.
Council seats in District 8 and 11 are currently vacant following a Dec. 21 Supreme Court ruling that overturned the results of the Oct. 20 municipal election.
Council held an in-camera deliberation for about 25 minutes on Jan. 8 and emerged to have Chief Administrative Officer Bob Ashley announce that council wouldn't be appealing the decision of Judge Gregory Warner.
“We were discussing the legal ramifications of an appeal of the judge’s decision to void the election,” he said.
Council voted to hold the special elections March 16, with advance polls on March 9 and 12.
A budget of $25,000 has been approved, with the money coming from anticipated 2012-2013 salary savings. All but $3,000 of the $100,000 the municipality had in reserve for the October election was spent. A returning officer has yet to be hired, but Ashley said he has received several applications.
During the public comment session, Nancy Saul-Demers, one of the Supreme Court applicants, thanked council for deciding not to appeal the decision. She said she’s still waiting for an apology from the municipality, not for herself, but for all those affected by mistakes made regarding the October election.
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“I haven’t heard or read an apology from anyone involved,” Saul-Demers said.
Coun. Patricia Bishop stood and apologized.
The warden and deputy warden will handle any concerns in the vacant districts until the seats can be filled. A formal motion wasn't required, as Deputy Warden Mike Ennis brought the matter forward at the Jan. 8 council session.
Coun. Kim MacQuarrie brought forward a recommendation from the nominating committee to leave committees with remaining council representatives as-is until the by-elections are held.
Council has approved having Coun. Brian Hirtle fill-in for the interim on the Destination Southwest Nova Association board; Ennis on the Regional Emergency Measures Organization; Coun. Emma Van Rooyen on Valley Community Fibre Network; and Coun. Pauline Raven on Valley Waste Resource Management. These were the committees left without council reps after the Supreme Court vacated the District 8 and 11 seats.
“If a councillor feels another councillor is required, they’re to let the warden and deputy warden know and they’ll find a councillor to fill in,” MacQuarrie said.