Ward 1 vacancy

With the passing of Councillor Laura Baily, a vacancy has been created in Ward 1. It has been the City’s practise to appoint the candidate with the next highest number of votes in the most recent election. However, Council may choose to hold a by-election to fill the vacancy.

As you may recall, Kathleen Farrelly received the same number of votes as Baily, was originally sworn in as a councillor and participated in the orientation training.

City Hall has received a number of correspondences regarding this situation:

I am writing in order to express my opinion regarding the very unfortunate Council vacancy in Ward One. Although I realize that the tradition in Guelph when dealing with such a situation dictates that the the second-place candidate be appointed to the vacant position, I would urge you to support the call for a by-election in Ward One.

As you are well aware, we are still at the beginning of a full four-year term; the second-place candidate would not be “finishing” a term in a vacant seat. Rather, a candidate who was not elected would effectively be awarded a full term in office de facto.

To appoint the second place candidate is to nullify the votes of nearly 20% of the electors of Ward One. There is no way of knowing how these electors would have voted if the late Councillor Bailey had not been in the race. By appointing a candidate, you will essentially disenfranchise 1 out of 5 voters in Ward One and install a candidate who is elected from an electoral base of only 80% of those who made the effort to vote. This hardly seems democratic.

I urge you to petition for and support a motion for a by-election in Ward One at next month’s Council meeting and I look forward to your feed-back. GS

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With the untimely passing of Councillor Baily, my understanding is that it is now up to you to decide how to fill the vacancy for Ward 1 councillor. It seems obvious to me that Kathleen Farrelly should be appointed without reservation and as soon as possible. She received the same voter support as Councillor Baily, has received city-funded councillor training, and has already spent a fair amount of time as a Ward 1 councillor. Ward 1 residents need a quick resolution to this saga. A by-election would only serve to prolong the lack of proper representation of Ward 1 on council.

Please bring Kathleen Farrelly back on board. DS

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It’s obvious that Ward 1 voters held both Laura Bailey and Kathleen Farrelly in equally high esteem. The fact that Farrelly received the same number of votes as Bailey gives her a clear mandate to serve as Ward 1 Councillor. Voters in Ward one will not be “disenfranchised” because they were able to cast two votes. Some of them may have voted for Kathleen and Laura. SW

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