Essex Town Council meets for its regular meeting at the Essex Civic Centre on March 2, 2015. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Survey Suggests There Will Be A Byelection In Essex (POLL)

Essex town councillors vote Monday night how to fill the vacancy in Ward 3 now that Bill Caixeiro has resigned.

A report to council outlines two options: appointing someone to fill his seat or holding a by-election.

An informal poll by BlackburnNews.com of councillors suggests residents in Ward 3 will go to the polls.

Caixiero announced his resignation at council’s July 3 meeting, citing personal reasons and requesting privacy for at least two weeks. The announcement shocked councillors, including Mayor Ron McDermott who confessed he was deeply saddened by the news.

At the time, McDermott told BlackburnNews.com that he favoured appointing the runner up in the 2014 municipal election. However, John Scott has notified the town he is no longer interested in sitting on the council in Essex. McDermott says he has not changed his mind.

“No cost, no nothing,” he says. “In Essex Centre, I’m having everybody tell me, ‘there’s no need to vote. Why spend that money?'”

Meanwhile, Ward 1 Councillor Steve Bjorkman is on the fence.

“Until I have all the facts, especially with regard to timing of how those two different options will work, I’m not leaning either way,” he says.

Councillors could choose to appoint a member of the public. The report says the town could put out an advertisement requesting applications, conduct interviews, and have the new councillor in place in time for the meeting on September 5.

If it chooses to take it to a vote, the bylaw declaring a byelection in Ward 3 could be signed on August 8. Nomination day would be September 22, with the election on November 6. The newly elected representative would attend their first council meeting on November 20.

Holding a by-election could cost up to $15,000, but fellow Ward 3 Councillor Larry Snively says all the emails he has received from the public have been one-sided. While he admits he supported appointment at first when Scott was excluded, he allowed public input to sway him.

“We do have some money in the fund left,” he says. “I realize that some of the taxpayers don’t agree with the by-election, [but] we have 15 months left. If we only had six, seven months left I would say, you know maybe we could even get through without appointing anybody and just go on.”

Ward 1 Councillor Randy Voakes says he too supports holding a byelection, as does Ward 4’s Sherry Bondy.

“If we had the option of going to the third person down, for me, that would be a little bit of a different story because the third person lost by six votes,” she explains. “Now we’re talking about possibly the option of appointing the fourth person down. He wasn’t picked by the people, so I’m uncomfortable making that decision for the people.”

BlackburnNews.com has also placed a call with Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche but has yet to hear back regarding Monday night’s vote.

What do you think? Should a by-election be held in Essex's Ward 3?

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