Declare early

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I applaud Dysart et al mayor Andrea Roberts for her relatively early announcement that she will not be seeking re-election in the fall.

In the same vein, I think Minden Hills mayor Brent Devolin did his community a service in making it known last November that he would be ending his tenure as mayor of the township.

Often in the past, incumbent councillors left their constituents hanging, sometimes not filing their nomination papers until very late in the running. Consequently, we often did not know until the last day of nominations who was running.

It is not a good practise at it does not give possible successors much time to decide whether or not it would be strategic for them to throw their hats in the ring. 

With the early heads-up, would-be candidates can get involved much earlier in the process. We think that results in better candidates.

In the past, we also knew who was interested because they would show up at council meetings prior to the October elections to get a feel for how things work. It has been harder during COVID to gauge who might be keen since meetings are on Zoom and we don’t know who is watching.

We’ll get some indication of who might be interested at a candidate information session April 26 at the Haliburton Legion. Then again, people can sign on via Zoom, so there may be some anonymous types who are thinking about becoming involved, but we won’t really know until nomination time.

It is also a good time to remind people that it isn’t just municipal election on Oct. 24, but school board as well. 

Candidates interested in running basically have to get at least 25 electors to sign a form. School board trustee hopefuls do not need signatures. You can find the forms at the municipal clerk’s office or on township websites.  It’s $200 to run for mayor and $100 for other offices. 

The window is May 2 to August 19, which is dubbed nomination day.

We would encourage anyone thinking about running to attend next Tuesday’s session in person or online. It’s at 6:30 p.m. Candidates, their family or the public can attend. It’s free.

Fred Dean, a municipal coach and former municipal solicitor who has been training members and heads of council since 2002, will be speaking.

The session will provide an overview of the roles and responsibilities of municipal council members and explain how public office will impact their life.

There is no registration required for in-person attendance. To register virtually, visit dysartetal.ca/election/

We would encourage incumbents and prospective candidates to let their intentions known early in the game rather than doing the nomination day shuffle. It does not have to be a big reveal as it has in the past. It gives candidates more time to get to know their constituents, the machinations of local government and their communities. It gives voters a longer period of time to figure out who they might select come Oct. 24.