Nomination period underway, rules explained to potential candidates

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The nomination period for the 2018 municipal election is now open but those interested in a council position got a taste of what the rules are during election season.

A candidate information night was held in late April before a packed council chambers at the Essex Civic Centre with residents from across Essex County coming out to hear what the rules are during municipal election season.

Tim Ryall, municipal advisor with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, advised potential mayor, deputy mayor and councillor candidates of regulations around spending limits, third party advertising, the role of council and key dates during the process. The latter included dates such as the length of the nomination period, which ends July 27 at 2 p.m. and the campaign financial statement filing deadline which is March 29, 2019 at 2 p.m.

“Local government is the level of government closest to the people,” said Ryall.

Ryall said those who base their candidacy on one issue can be in for a long four years, if elected, as there are multiple components to the job. Council members are to act more in a supervisory role, he added, and to conduct meetings, set policy, oversee public funds, represent the ratepayers, develop a vision and goals and pass bylaws for the municipality. He urged council members not to micromanage into the affairs of the town and to let administration do their jobs.

“Trust your staff to do the jobs they are meant to do,” said Ryall.

The cost to run for mayor is $200 with deputy mayor and councillor fees being $100.

Mike Galloway, CAO of Caledon and former Kitchener councillor, addresses the crowd at the recent candidate information session in Essex.

Ryall noted there is a limit that a candidate for municipal council can make to their campaign, with that being based on the number of electors voting for the office to a maximum of $25,000 per candidate. The formula breaks down to $7,500 plus 20 cents per elector for head of council and $5,000 plus 20 cents per elector of other council offices.

Spending limits, per Ontario Regulation 101/97, are $7,500 plus 85 cents per elector and $5,000 and 85 cents per elector for all other offices.

“Keep a diligent record of your expenses during the campaign,” Ryall told the large audience. “Whatever system works for you, make sure you keep accurate financial records.”

Mike Galloway, chief administrative officer (CAO) of Caledon and a former Kitchener city councillor, recalled his experiences while running for office. He served two terms in Kitchener before going to the administrative side of municipal business.

Galloway agreed with Ryall that single-issue candidates “usually don’t work out well.” He added that the best way to get elected is to show integrity and work ethic.

“If anyone thinks they can sit at home and Tweet and post on Facebook, they are sadly mistaken,” said Galloway.

Galloway recalled going up against a candidate in his Kitchener ward with name value but beating him due to consistently knocking on doors and meeting with people.

“It’s going to be a busy time for you if you decide to run,” said Galloway. “It is a gruelling task to run for any municipal office.”

Tim Ryall from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing addresses the crowd at the candidate information session in the Essex Civic Centre council chambers.

Candidates were urged to run for the right reasons, create a contrast between themselves and other candidates, not to be afraid of asking questions, to budget for a winning campaign and to have a written plan. Galloway added that orientation sessions are important for new council members and that new council members need to know that it is more than simply attending a couple of meetings per month.

“Get ready to put miles on the car and to spend three or four nights per week out of the house,” said Galloway.

Council members are also one vote out of seven, with Galloway telling potential candidates that they would not be the sole decision-maker.

“You are lending your vote to a collective decision of council,” he said.

Ryall pointed out he has been conducting similar seminars across the province. Municipal officials from across Essex County were also on hand to field questions from members of the public.

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