It was with interest that I read about the Wednesday, December 18th Puslinch Council meeting being moved to the Community Centre. Then I heard that there were fourteen people in Puslinch vying for the one Councillor position available (due to Ken Roth resigning). It was at that point I knew that I needed to attend. I was immensely curious in hearing about why there was such an interest in this job? It is true that it is the least expensive way to enter politics to see if it is the right fit for a person. That being said, it is definitely stressful sitting at a table with a microphone trying to convince elected officials why you would make a good choice for the position.
With council members in front of you and a smattering of Puslinch tax payers sitting behind you, your job in ten minutes or less is to make the best impression you can. It was jaw dropping listening to all the experiences that the candidates were bringing to the table from handling multi-million dollar budgets, running their own businesses, helping to develop new health programs and implementing a master recreational plan for a local municipality. Candidates regardless of having lived here for two or thirty years expressed concern for Puslinch with the focus being on the extraction of the local natural resources and the negative impact that will have.
In no particular order the candidates were:
- Kirandeep Johal
- Michael Riolo
- Cheryl Ritter
- Ron Dorombozi
- Steven Dorgo
- Peter Atkins
- Robert Cassolato
- Linda Barkovsky
- David Rogers
- Russel Hurst
- Sara Bailey
- Paul Sadhra
- George Harris
- Michael Wassilyn
The above list of people sat in the Alf Hales room to await their turn to be asked to come to the McRobbie Hall and speak about their experiences and reasons for why they would make a good councillor for Puslinch. After the 10 minute presentation, Mayor Seeley asked:
- Since the vacancy was posted what have you done to familiarize yourself with the issues facing council?
- Do you believe community engagement is important when making decisions and if so, how would you go about being engaged with the community?
- Council is made up of people that have a diversity of skills/backgrounds and perspectives, what background skill set do you bring to this council? Why do you think we should select you as the new council member?
- Can you please highlight what you know about a Municipal procedural bylaw and council procedure?
At this point, the prospective member would find a reserved spot and join the audience while Nina Lecic retrieved the next participant. After two hours of listening to people pitch their ideas it was time for existing council to shortlist the fourteen members to three candidates. Each councillor was given ballots to make their decision. The top three after the count were: Robert Cassolato, Sara Bailey and Steven Dorgo. It was at this point that each councillor was given one more ballot to narrow the field of candidates to one if possible. A winner was declared with three out of the four votes. I present to you our new councillor “Sara Bailey.”
A quote from Councillor Bailey, “I’m happy to be adding to my involvement in the community. I’m hoping that this experience will allow me to make good decisions for all Puslinch residents. I would also like to thank council for choosing me out of a field of “great” candidates.”
I would also like to send my thanks to all candidates who took time out of their busy schedules to put forth their name. I was super impressed. And congratulations to Sara Bailey on her new appointment.
By Margaret Hauwert