Ross Dawe new mayor of Cupids

Staffing con­tro­versy, lead­er­ship vac­uum re­solved

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERRY ROBERTS THE COM­PASS

The em­bat­tled Cupids town coun­cil will have a new per­son at the helm for the fi­nal eight months of its four-year term.

Ross Dawe was ap­pointed mayor dur­ing a reg­u­lar meet­ing of coun­cil on Tues­day, Feb. 5, end­ing a tem­po­rary lead­er­ship vac­uum cre­ated when former mayor Ron Laracy un­ex­pect­edly re­signed from coun­cil on Jan. 29.

Coun­cil also ap­pears to have re­solved a staffing is­sue that was threat­en­ing to hurl the town of some 760 res­i­dents into chaos, both from an ad­min­is­tra­tive and main­te­nance per­spec­tive.

The long­time town clerk had ten­dered her res­ig­na­tion late last month, and the main­te­nance em­ployee, who is also re­spon­si­ble for snow­clear­ing, was also threat­en­ing to quit.

The dis­pute re­volved around a pro­posed pay in­crease that was re­jected by a ma­jor­ity of coun­cil­lors at a priv­i­leged meet­ing last month.

Faced with the loss of its two em­ploy­ees, coun­cil con­vened an emer­gency meet­ing on Fri­day, Feb. 1 and agreed to of­fer both a $1 per hour wage in­crease.

The in­crease was ac­cepted by both em­ploy­ees, and they have agreed to stay on the job.

The pay in­crease was rat­i­fied dur­ing Tues­day’s pub­lic meet­ing.

The town has also been hob­bled by fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties, and was un­able to make its fi­nal pay­ment of $52,000 in 2012 to pay off the long-term debt. The es­ca­lat­ing cost of main-

Ross Dawe is now the mayor of Cupids.

ten­ance for the back­hoe, garbage truck and snow­plow truck is also squeez­ing the town’s lim­ited cof­fers.

To il­lus­trate this, coun­cil­lors were ob­served dur­ing Tues­day’s meet­ing, sift­ing through a long list of in­voices and des­ig­nat­ing those that were a pri­or­ity for pay­ment, while de­fer­ring oth­ers.

“We don’t have the cash to pay them all,” said Mayor Dawe.

The town clerk noted this was “nor­mal” for this time of year, since tax in­voices to res­i­dents and busi­nesses have only re­cently been dis­trib­uted.

Dawe, mean­while, was deputy mayor, and be­came act­ing mayor fol­low­ing Laracy’s de­par­ture.

Harold Akerman re­places Dawe as deputy mayor.

Both were elected by ac­cla­ma­tion dur­ing a meet­ing at­tended by only four of the six re­main­ing mem­bers of coun­cil. Also in at­ten­dance were coun­cil­lors Kevin Con­nolly and Doug Furey, while Chris­tine Burry and Har­vey Pud­dis­ter were ab­sent.

Four is the min­i­mum num­ber of coun­cil­lors that can be present in or­der to make the pro­ceed­ings of the meet­ing valid.

Coun­cil will fin­ish out its term with a va­cancy, with pro­vin­cial mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions sched­uled for Sept. 24.

ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Photo by Terry Robers/the Com­pass

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