Saint-Lazare mayor to step down for health reasons
Fall by-election looming
Kary, 42, who made the unexpected announcement a few days before Christmas, said Monday he’s waiting for results on medical tests he’s had done.
He declined to disclose more on the nature of the health issues, however, saying he would like to keep his private life private. Kary will step down as of June 29, 2012. He was elected to his first four-year term as mayor in November of 2009.
Elected with him as part of the Shared Vision Party were Councillors Jean-pierre Giguère, Nathalie Richard, who was voted pro-mayor at the first meeting of the new council, Gilbert Arsenault, and Jean-claude Gauthier.
Councillors Brigitte Asselin and Michel Lambert defeated candidates from Kary’s party to round out the municipal council team.
Soon after taking office Asselin and Lambert publicly refused to sign confidentiality agreements when asked by Kary, along with all other council members. The town council has often had acrimonious meetings.
The rapidly growing town has gone from 17,000 residents in 2006 to more than 20,000 today. Saint-lazare was also named a town with one of the youngest populations, with 31-percent of residents living in the town being under the age of 30.
A by-election to fill Kary’s post until Nov. 2013 could be held in late September or early October.
Until then pro-mayor Nathalie Richard will assume all mayoral duties once Kary’s resignation comes into effect in June.
In a phone interview this week, Kary said the decision to step-down as mayor was not easy, and one he had contemplated during
Saint-lazare mayor Pierre Kary announced late last month he will step down as mayor of the booming Vaudreuil-soulanges town at the end of June due to undisclosed health issues.
the past few months.
“I’ve had some health issues for about a year now,” he said, adding, “It’s progressing and not in a positive sense... I’ve had a few scares. I need to focus on my health.”
The married father of a nine-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter says his family has mixed emotions about the decision.
On one hand, Kary will no longer be away from home four to five nights a week.
On the other, he will not have a full four year term to realize many of his goals for the town.
“My wife knows I do this job with passion and enjoy my work and want to accomplish certain things in this town... for the community. She shares with methe regret,” he said.
Though he could have waited to make the announcement, Kary said he wanted to give town officials time to prepare for the change.
“I knew if I were to just walk away overnight it would make things difficult at city hall and make things difficult for the staff,” Kary said.
As with any election, candidates interested in filling Kary’s shoes will file applications with the province.
When asked, Kary bristled a little when asked to name the accomplishments of which he is most proud.
“I’m not done yet. I will continue to put results ahead of politics,” he said.
For example, he said the current administration will get to work in the New Year on implementing its new municipal budget that will include such projects as a recreational trail network, increasing the current bicycle path network and new soccer and football fields.
“I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish together in two years, it’s the most productive couple of years the city has seen in a long time,” he opined.
Other accomplishments made in 2011 included improvements to town fire and medical emergency services, as well as the aqueduct and water treatment network, increasing public transportation in SaintLazare, and more.
Kary was also successful in seeing the mayor’s salary increased to $60,000 from $27,000.
Of his regrets, Kary named the recently defeated $14.5 million municipal swimming pool project that council members voted against on Dec. 20.
“Certain council members killed the project,” he said.
The defeat also nullified a pending applica- tion the town had made for a $6.8 million provincial grant that would have covered part of the cost of the pool project.
“There is a lot of competition for this money, the timing (of the vote) could not have been worse,” Kary said.
Saint-lazare would have needed to borrow another $7 million above the provincial grant in order to have built the pool.
Kary says he would rather have seen the process run its course, leaving the decision as to if they wanted to pay for a municipal pool up to citizens.
“This way the citizens do not have a say at all. I still feel a majority of residents wanted the pool and that the cost would have been deemed worth it,” he said.
Next six months
Though he knows whoever takes his place may not share his visions or goals for SaintLazare, Kary says he will focus on what can be accomplished during the next six months.
“I will put in the time needed to get the job done... I know someone else will be taking my place so I have to choose my projects accordingly,” he noted.
And though he knows his replacement may have a different agenda, Kary hopes whoever takes over will place equal importance on each resident.
“I hope my replacement will treat all citizens the same way and not see two or three classes for residents,” he said.
“Some people who are newer to SaintLazare, who have lived here less than 10 years, for example, have been treated like second class citizens (in the past), I hope whoever takes my place will treat all people as first class citizens.”
Saint-lazare mayor Pierre Kary will resign his position in June, leaving the job temporarily to pro-mayor Nathalie Richard. A by-election will be held next fall.