Special election called for June 26 for Fire Board Trustee position

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Wednesday, June 12 2019

As advertised in the June 12 edition of the Sounder, there will be an election held on June 26 at 7:00 p.m. to elect a Trustee for the Board of the Gabriola Fire Protection Improvement District.

The meeting will be held at the Albert Reed Memorial Fire Hall #1 on Church Street.

Nominations will be taken by email ahead of the meeting, but, in keeping with the current bylaws of the Fire District, those nominations will also need to be made from the floor on the night of the election to be official.

This special election is taking place after Trustee John Hudson stepped down on May 6, with a year left in his three-year term.

Whoever is voted in as Trustee will therefore have 10 months as Trustee before the term is complete in April of 2020.

In the event of a Trustee resigning, the Board has 60 days to call an election. Notice of the election must be made 14 days prior to the election.

Trustee Sandra Rudischer was standing in as Chair of the Board at a regular meeting held on June 6 last week.

After the April 24 Annual General Meeting and Trustee Election and the criticism that was made about how the election was run, the Board said that among the changes it would be considering, there would have to be an external Returning Officer.

Rudischer said, “We should look at getting a Returning Officer outside of the fire department [rather than] having our Corporate Officer as Returning Officer. That would be a good decision to make with what has been happening.”

Paula Mallinson, Corporate Officer for the Fire District, said she had someone in mind who had been the Returning Officer for the referendum (held in 2012) to approve funding the construction of the new fire hall.

Rudischer said that person would not be running the entire meeting, just acting as the Returning Officer.

Trustee John Moeller made the motion for the District to hire a Returning Officer, with Trustees voting in favour of the motion.

Trustees also discussed whether nominations for candidates would be taken in advance of the election night.

Rudischer asked if they could accept nominations by email.

She and Fire Chief Rick Jackson said that, in the past, there have been nominations accepted for candidates unable to be at the election.

Rudischer said that “the best way may be to accept nominations from the floor - will we accept by email as well as from the floor?”

Moeller said, “I think if you’re not present for an election you expect to win, you maybe shouldn’t run. No one gets to see who you are.”

Mallinson said if Trustees are willing to accept nominations by email, that means candidates can get their names out in public ahead of time.

Trustees settled on accepting nominations through email, but the nominated individuals must be at the election in order to stand.

The District Bylaws state that nominations come from the floor - and to change bylaws, a special meeting would need to be held.

Mallinson confirmed that, as such, even if nominations are made by email, to be official, those nominations will need to also be made from the floor on the night of the election.

Details on who is eligible to run and to vote in the election on June 26 are in the election notice on page 3 of this edition of the Sounder.