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Roy Main takes charge in Mount Stewart; new council needs to be elected

['Roy Main, City of Charlottetown chief administrative officer, listens as a city councillor speaks during the regular meeting of city council Monday night. ']
Roy Main, former City of Charlottetown chief administrative officer, listens as a city councillor speaks in this file photo. -File photo

Roy Main, former chief administrative officer of Charlottetown, has been appointed as a special commissioner to carry on the administration of Mount Stewart.

Earlier this month, council dissolved following a dispute over the community’s fire department.

Three counselors tried to pass a motion to close the Mount Stewart Fire Department.

Then chairwoman Maxine Jay-Doucette and then vice-chairwoman Julie MacKay both resigned to prevent the motion proceeding.

Main is charged with arranging for the election of a new council.

Samantha Murphy, manager of Municipal Affairs, says the decision on whether to proceed on an election before the November 2018 general municipal elections rests with the commissioner.

She adds the following factors may affect his decision:

  • Under the Municipal Government Act (MGA), vacancies that come up within 12 months of a general election may be left vacant until the general election.
  • Any early election would only fill the seats until the next general election, so it would be a very short term for those elected at a cost to the municipality.
  • Under the MGA, all elections will be held as all-day elections with advance polls, voters’ lists, and advance nominations. There is some work to be done to prepare Mount Stewart and other municipalities that are new to all-day elections, which would affect the municipality's readiness to hold general by-elections before November 2018.

Frank Walker, one of the three counselors who wanted to close the community’s fire department because of numerous inadequacies, is not sure if he will run again.

Jay-Doucette is also non-committal.

“Trying to just get through the holidays and decide after that – certainly not out of the running,’’ she says.

Jay-Doucette adds residents of Mount Stewart “are not too pleased’’ with the situation, particularly with counselors attempting to close the local fire department.

Jay-Doucette commented earlier this month that counselors should not be able to close the community’s fire department without holding a public meeting.

She says residents support the local fire department.

Fire Marshall Dave Rossiter concluded in his audit of the department that it measures up with most rural fire departments with “some recommendations to be enacted to strengthen their administrative and risk management foundation.’’

Walker, however, noted Rossiter’s report raised concerns with equipment and training not being up to date.

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