Questions remain for Cupids council
Meeting scheduled for Tuesday night fails to materialize
An attempt last week to hold the first town council meeting in Cupids since the recent resignation of its mayor failed. Following the appointment of two new council members, it looks like the provincial government may need to appoint addition councillors to give the municipality a full group until the next general election this fall.
With the Town of Cupids struggling to get enough council members in a room together for meetings, the provincial government may find itself needing to appoint more councillors.
Deputy Mayor Gordon Power was set to chair a meeting last Tuesday, with recently appointed council members Joanne Wells and Rod Delaney also in attendance. But Mike Power and Kevin Connolly, two elected councillors, failed to show up. Both cited health issues when contacted by The Compass the next morning about their absence.
Power told The Compass he would contact Municipal Affairs and recommend the appointment of Alice Power and Douglas Furey to council. They were candidates in a byelection last June won by Francis Walsh. Walsh has since resigned.
“Just pushing ahead for the town to get some things done,” the deputy mayor said when asked about the benefit of getting two more councillors. “You’ve got extra people to rely on to go on committees. Right now, the committees are not full. We don’t have the people.”
In a statement released to The Compass last Thursday, Municipal Affairs confirmed it was considering that option.
While an official meeting did not go ahead, the two new council members welcomed questions from the 20-or-so people in attendance. Delaney and Wells were appointed to council following the resignations of Walsh and former mayor Christine Burry. In all, seven have resigned since 2013.
It was at this point that Alice Power questioned the fairness of appointing Wells and Delaney. She could not understand why herself and Furey, two people who previously offered to serve the town, were not considered.
Delaney and Wells, who are a couple, both said they didn’t know how Municipal Affairs got their names. Wells said her only goal is to help the town get through the next six months prior to the general election. She does not plan to run in that election. Delaney said he’s undecided at this point.
Mike Power and Kevin Connolly both believe bringing the two failed candidates into the
fold is the proper thing to do at this stage, though Connolly feels a byelection should have been held.
“I think the people of the town should have to vote,” he said Wednesday. “And that’s the right way to do it.”
“I don’t know how they came
up with these two people,” Mike Power said, adding that while it’s not unheard of for people to elect a married couple, he was puzzled to see Delaney and Wells get appointed together.
Municipal Affairs told The Compass department officials worked with local MHA Betty Parsley to identify potential appointees. Her office provided three names to government, and the department determined two of those potential candidates were both interested and eligible to serve on Cupids council.
According to the deputy mayor, the inability of council to hold meetings has not negatively impacted the town so far, but if the situation continues, there could be trouble.
“It’s only been really a month, and we’ve continued on, paid our bills, did what we had to do, so we’re sitting good,” said Gordon Power, who added he will not be running in the fall election. “But it will hurt us in probably the next month or later on this month. You’ve got to have (meetings).”
Mike Power, who does intend to seek reelection in the fall, believes the current council can survive the next six months. So does Connolly, who couldn’t confirm whether he’ll run again in 2017, though he hopes for a big slate of candidates, including younger residents.
“I’d love to see young people running and make the town livable and everything like that and make things move in the town like recreation,” he said. “Everybody is leaving in Cupids. For what reason? Because it’s getting a bad name out there with council.”
As for the present situation, Connolly sees the need for improved communication within council.
“When you don’t communicate with each other as a council, then it gets upsetting within the council,” he said, “and the council doesn’t work together. That’s wrong.”
The Compass has contacted the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment for further comment on the situation in Cupids and will update this story once a response is received.
A date for the next Cupids council meeting has not been set.
A Cupids council meeting scheduled for Tuesday night did not go ahead. Pictured, from the left is Coun. Joanne Wells, Deputy Mayor Gordon Power, town clerk Ivy King and Coun. Rod Delaney.
Cupids Deputy Mayor Gordon King said he intends to contact Municipal Affairs to recommend the names of two residents who ran for council in a byelection last year.
Coun. Mike Power.