The West Nipissing council is developing a policy to promptly fill vacant council seats. The decision is in response to the last council, which took about two years to fill a seat left vacant after the resignation of councilor Jérémy Seguin. The policy, in line with the Municipal Act, aims to avoid similar future situations. Since amalgamation in 1999, the council has filled four vacated seats. If a vacancy is declared, the council is typically given 60 days to either appoint a new person or pass a bylaw for a by-election, unless the vacancy occurs within 90 days of a regular election. Councils often appoint a candidate from the previous election who failed to earn a seat.
By-elections, while costly, are more likely at the beginning of a term, while appointments become more common towards the end. West Nipissing council, considering costs and efficiency, favors appointment by application. The new policy also includes a provision for breaking a tie during the appointment process, an issue that previously resulted in deadlock. The policy will be put to a vote at the council’s meeting on May 16.