BLR fills two vacancies on Council but process criticized

At a Special Meeting held on Mar.16, Brudenell Lyndoch Raglan (BLR) Council met to fill two vacancies. This was made necessary when former Councillor Andrea Budarick’s seat was vacated by Court order and former Councillor Trevor Lidtkie resigned from Council. Above: Mayor Sheldon Keller (left), Councillor Iris Kauffeldt, Candidate Stefan Woyslaw. Photo YouTube/Brudenell Lyndoch Raglan Township.

There were seven applicants for the positions, namely: Nicole Alessandro, Wayne Banks, Melody Budarick, Ronnie Budarick, Valerie Jahn, Shane Musclow, and Stefan Woyslaw. Council had previously attempted to fill Budarick’s position by appointing Banks but were frustrated in that attempt through her appeal of the decision against her. Each candidate was required to answer a questionnaire in advance of being interviewed during the Special Council Meeting. After the interview process was completed, members of Council adjourned for about ten minutes to reach their decision. They then proceeded with a public verbal vote which resulted in the appointments of Banks and Jahn.

The Current interviewed candidate Stefan Woyslaw who was unhappy about the process. He told The Current: “Transparency was an issue for me [when] Council decided to appoint these people themselves instead of going to an outside committee that had no bias to any [one] that was applying for these appointments.” He also expressed concern that Banks was chosen despite not having been elected when he ran previously. As well, it seemed inappropriate to him that they appointed someone (Jahn) who had worked closely with them recently as their Interim Clerk-Treasurer. He explained his concerns by saying, “My view was it’s a public position. You get voted in and you shouldn’t be appointed by a sitting council. It should have gone to an independent selection committee and then that committee should have advised Council which appointees [to fill the vacancies].” Woyslaw also explained his concerns about the contents of the questionnaire which, among other things, failed to ask about previous employment or job responsibilities, which “is a huge contributing factor to how well you can serve within a community.”

Woyslaw is a full-time resident of BLR, has been a real estate agent for many years, and also now serves as President of the OFSC Peterson Pathfinders Snowmobile Club. He said that having closely followed the events and controversies which The Current has reported on during the current Council’s term, he was motivated to run for office in this year’s election in October but put his hat in the ring early when the two vacancies arose. He added that in his view “this entire council should be revamped” and was pleased that there had been seven candidates for the two positions, leading him to the conclusion that “a number of people want change in this riding.”

For those interested, the entire meeting can be viewed on BLR Township’s YouTube channel.

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