Creat­ing a for­mal pol­icy

The Daily Observer - - FRONT PAGE - SEAN CHASE SChase@post­media.com

PETAWAWA – The town has de­vel­oped a pol­icy that will en­sure that mu­nic­i­pal re­sources are not used by in­cum­bent coun­cil­lors to get re-elected.

Un­der Bill 181, the Mu­nic­i­pal Elec­tions Mod­ern­iza­tion Act, mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and lo­cal boards had to es­tab­lish rules and pro­ce­dures with re­spect to the use of mu­nic­i­pal or board re­sources dur­ing an elec­tion cam­paign pe­riod.

The new pol­icy, passed by coun­cil re­cently, will pro­vide di­rec­tion to mem­bers of coun­cil and staff on the ad­min­is­tra­tion of cor­po­rate re­sources and coun­cil ex­pense al­lowances with re­spect to elec­tion-re­lated mat­ters. It will en­sure that pub­lic funds will not to be used for any elec­tion-re­lated pur­poses, in­clud­ing the pro­mo­tion of or op­po­si­tion to the can­di­dacy of a per­son for elected of­fice.

“Pre­vi­ously the clerk’s de­part­ment made sure mu­nic­i­pal re­sources were not used dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign pe­riod as a stan­dard prac­tice with no for­mal writ­ten pol­icy,” said deputy clerk Dawn Re­coskie.

Cor­po­rate re­sources are in­cluded within the def­i­ni­tion of pub­lic funds, and fur­ther in­cludes Town of Petawawa equip­ment, fa­cil­i­ties, web­site ac­cess, and email ad­dress.

“There can­not be any ad­van­tage to a sit­ting mem­ber of coun­cil through some sort of elec­tronic means or any other re­source that is paid for by the cor­po­ra­tion,” said chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer Dan Scis­sons.

Bill 181 has in­tro­duced sev­eral sig­nif­i­cant changes that will af­fect the Oc­to­ber 2018 mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions across On­tario. The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment al­lowed each mu­nic­i­pal­ity to choose be­tween uti­liz­ing the tra­di­tional first-past­the-post sys­tem or a ranked bal­lot sys­tem for the up­com­ing elec­tion. The town will use elec­tronic vot­ing but re­tain the bal­lot which can be cast at the town of­fice. Petawawa will also re­tain the first-past-the­p­ost method. Scis­sons said in­cum­bent coun­cils have fol­lowed rules of fair­ness in the past so this is just a for­mal­iz­ing of the rules.

“From our per­spec­tive we have op­er­ated un­der the guise that coun­cil will govern it­self ac­cord­ingly and we have re­ally had no is­sue with that,” he said. “Un­for­tu­nately the leg­is­la­tion has ad­vanced to the point where we are forced to put some­thing in writ­ing.”

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