MV voters can look forward to hotly-contested municipal elections this fall. With still over a month left before the nominations deadline, eight candidates have already put their names forward as prospective members of Council. The candidates include the four incumbent Councillors: Carl Bromwich, Ernie Peplinski, David Shulist and Mark Willmer. They are joined by Helen Benn, Kenton Biffert, Mary Blank, and Joseph Olsheski. This means theoretically that the next MV Council could be composed of an entirely new slate. There are also three candidates for School Board positions, namely incumbent David Kaiser, and newcomers Susan Artymko and Mervin Paul Merkowsky.
- The Current has already profiled Benn who operates her business out of The Natural Health Centre in Barry’s Bay.
- Until her retirement a couple of years ago, Blank was Activities Director (a senior staff position) at Valley Manor Long Term Care.
- Olsheski, who grew up in the Valley and studied civil engineering at Ottawa University, is familiar to many in his role as “second in command” at Merol Construction Ltd.
- Artymko, who initially trained as an anthropologist, worked at Barry’s Bay Home Building Centre while raising her children here; she is now CEO/Chief Librarian at Bonnechere Union Public Library in Eganville.
- Also aiming to take up roles in local politics are two members of the Seat of Wisdom College (SWC) community who have thrown their hats into the ring: Kenton Biffert is the Dean of Students at the College and Mervin Merkowsky is SWC’s Director of Finance.
Nobody has yet declared for the position of Mayor. If no one steps up as a mayoral candidate, according to the 2022 Candidates’ Guide for Municipal Council and School Board elections: “If there are positions that no candidates have run for or positions that are still vacant after the candidates who did run have been acclaimed, the clerk will call for additional nominations. Additional nominations for the remaining vacant seats must be filed between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Wednesday, August 24, 2022. The clerk must either certify or reject each nomination by 4 p.m. on Thursday, August 25, 2022.” This means that it is possible that potential candidates for Mayor who haven’t made up their minds by August 19 would still have up to a week to file their nomination papers. It is also possible that an existing candidate for a seat on Council could switch to run for Mayor; this happened in MV in 2018.
Are you eligible to run?
The Candidates’ Guide also sets out the eligibility rules to run for municipal office: “To run for a position on council you must be eligible to vote in that municipality. On the day you file your nomination, you must be a Canadian citizen aged 18 or older, and qualify as a resident or non-resident elector. For more information about eligibility to vote, please see the 2022 Voters’ Guide.” It is possible therefore that a non-resident elector, e.g. a property owner whose principal residence is outside of MV could (in theory at least) run for municipal office in MV. For example, Barry’s Bay resident John Jeffrey serves as a Councillor in neighbouring Killaloe Hagarty Richards. But the experience of holding virtual and/or online meetings during the pandemic makes it practical for seasonal residents who own property in MV to serve on Council.
As we did during the last election, The Current will use its 24/7 online presence once the campaign season gets underway to keep voters up to date with coverage of all election-related news and developments. We will also endeavour where warranted to provide additional insight into the suitability or otherwise of all candidates to assist voters in determining their fitness to hold, or to continue to hold, public office.