Ev­ery seat con­tested in Og­den

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Og­den

It has been a tu­mul­tuous year for the Og­den mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil, per­haps the rea­son why ev­ery seat on coun­cil is now be­ing con­tested. Among other chal­lenges, the last year has seen for­mer mayor Joe Stairs leave his po­si­tion as mayor, in ut­ter frus­tra­tion, and long-time town gen­eral man­ager, Re­nee Don­ald­son, also re­sign.

Lise Routhier, the for­mer mayor of Og­den who was elected by coun­cil af­ter Mr. Stairs re­signed, is hop­ing to re­gain her po­si­tion as mayor. Asked what she be­lieved were the main is­sues in Og­den, Mrs. Routhier replied: “We’ve tried to redo a new team at the town hall, and I’m very happy with them. Now we can con­tinue with the work that needs to be done in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity. It’s im­por­tant to keep a good at­mos­phere to work in and pro­vide good ser­vice. Road main­te­nance is an is­sue; the main­te­nance of the roads is a lit­tle be­hind. But we must man­age the mu­nic­i­pal­ity with the money that we have,” said Mrs. Routhier in a phone in­ter­view with the Stanstead Jour­nal.

Mrs. Routhier has been liv­ing in Og­den since 1964. She was first elected to the town coun­cil in 2006, than re­gained her seat in 2009 by ac­cla­ma­tion. She has

worked on the town’s fi­nance com­mit­tee and, more re­cently, the roads com­mit­tee. “We have been work­ing in teams rather than com­mit­tees in the last few months be­cause we have two empty seats at coun­cil,” she said.

For­mer Og­den mayor, Michael Sud­low, was hop­ing to re­tire soon from mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics but, in­stead, is jump­ing back in. Asked what his main con­cerns were, the for­mer mayor an­swered: “Right now the coun­cil is go­ing back­wards when it comes to trans­parency and plan­ning. I’d like to help re­store coun­cil to make long-term goals rather than short-term goals for ex­pe­di­ency.” He then spoke of the town’s re­cent sale of their road grader, in favour of con­tract­ing out the grad­ing work. When it comes to a lack of trans­parency, Mr. Sud­low com­mented, as one ex­am­ple, that the coun­cil­lors had been told by the for­mer may­oress not to dis­cuss pre-coun­cil meet­ings with the pub­lic.

Mr. Sud­low has been in mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics for twenty-four years: eight as Og­den mayor, eight as Og­den coun­cil­lor, and eight as a Len­noxville coun­cil­lor. “I have got­ten in­volved to help im­prove the qual­ity of life of my neigh­bours, to have a pos­i­tive im­pact on the com­mu­nity. I like to feel that coun­cil is the so­lu­tion to the prob­lems,” he con­cluded.

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