Casselman's mayor loses, regains seat within a week

·2 min read
Daniel Lafleur had been serving as mayor of Casselman, Ont., but when he temporarily accepted a position as the town's chief administrative officer the municipality declared the mayor's seat vacant to keep in line with provincial laws. On Thursday, he was reinstated. (Denis Babin/Radio-Canada - image credit)
Daniel Lafleur had been serving as mayor of Casselman, Ont., but when he temporarily accepted a position as the town's chief administrative officer the municipality declared the mayor's seat vacant to keep in line with provincial laws. On Thursday, he was reinstated. (Denis Babin/Radio-Canada - image credit)

After being forced to resign his seat as mayor of Casselman, Ont., at the beginning of the week, Daniel Lafleur found himself mayor of the eastern Ontario town again by week's end.

His return was voted on — and unanimously supported — by the other members of the municipal council during an emergency council meeting Thursday morning.

The musical chairs were caused by a bylaw adopted by the town's elected officials in September, which led to Lafleur being appointed to an administrative position within the municipal government.

After the former chief administrative officer's "unexpected departure" in September, the councillors voted to have Lafleur "symbolically" appointed to the position.

However, per the province's Municipal Act, a municipal employee cannot also hold an elected position on council.

When the province nudged the town, it instead created a temporary administrative committee on Nov. 9, made up of five people, including the mayor and town clerk. It will be dissolved when the position is filled.

Councillors said they want to put the difficult time behind them, as the move that caused him to step down was an error made by council in good faith.

"To be frank with you, as a councillor, these last 10 days were not pleasant," said Paul Groulx at Thursday's meeting.

Lafleur said he was not paid for his two months of administrative work.

"There was a mistake done and we rectified that," he said. "Now today it's over. We turn the page."

Administrative mess reaches county level

As a result of the administrative mess, a vote on the new president for the United Counties of Prescott and Russell was also delayed.

That was because Lafleur was the only person running to replace the outgoing president of the county-level government, which includes eight municipalities.

The counties decided to deviate from their standard practice and reopen the nomination period for president. Lafleur said he still intends to run.

"Once I am named president of the united counties, I will work for the eight municipalities, you can be sure," he said.

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