Clearwater County to vote on electing reeve

Clearwater County ratepayers will decide next election if it’s time they got to vote for a reeve

Clearwater County ratepayers will decide next election if it’s time they got to vote for a reeve.

Currently, the public votes on seven councillors, who appoint one of their number as reeve for a one-year term.

However, council is considering going to a publicly-elected reeve and will take the question to county residents in a referendum in the fall 2010 election. If the public supports electing a reeve, it would not happen until the following election in 2013.

Councillor Ken Qually said there are pros and cons, but he supports letting the public vote on reeve.

“I think it will alleviate a little bit of conflict within the council,” he said. “I think that’s a big factor within a lot of councils today, that there’s a lot of conflict within the organization.”

Choosing a reeve from among themselves can divide councils into camps. “It’s very easy to get sides.”

On the down side, the municipality could lose a good councillor if there is a battle for the reeve job.

“That’s probably one of the biggest issues. But overall, I think I’m in favour of it.”

There is also the risk that a poor reeve could be elected and the municipality would be stuck with them until the next election. Under the current system, a reeve who isn’t up to snuff could be replaced by their fellow councillors after a year.

Qually said he has spoken with counterparts in other counties where the reeve is elected and the reviews have been positive.

It has not been a big issue with the public, but the comments he has heard have also been supportive of the idea.

“I think for the most part the people I’ve talked to would like to see it.”

Councillor Earl Graham voted against the referendum motion, which was passed 5-2.

“I don’t recognize it yet as a real issue, at least not in my division,” said Graham. “The system we have, in my mind, is working fine.”

There has been little public reaction to the proposal so far, he said. “If anything, people I would say are fine with the present system.”

If an elected reeve was chosen, the municipality would have to redraw its boundaries to create six divisions instead of seven so that an uneven number of council members could be retained. Councils are required to have odd numbers to avoid deadlocks.

In 2004, Red Deer County electors voted 56.6 per cent in favour of an elected reeve. The county map was redrawn to include six divisions instead of seven. At the same time, the reeve title was dropped in favour of mayor.

Former reeve Earl Kinsella became the county’s first mayor in 2007.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

The RDC Queens picked up an extra special victory on home ice… Continue reading

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

‘Stupid’ law preventing Canada’s re-engagement with Iran: retired envoy

OTTAWA — The real reason the Liberal government hasn’t been able to… Continue reading

Voters head to polls for BC municipal elections today

VANCOUVER — Voters in British Columbia will head to the polls today… Continue reading

All sharks tagged in N.S. expedition can now be tracked on Ocearch website

HALIFAX — All six of the sharks tagged in Nova Scotian waters… Continue reading

Memorial service for former PQ minister Lise Payette today in Montreal

MONTREAL — Mourners will gather to remember former Parti Quebecois cabinet minister… Continue reading

Immunotherapy scores a first win against some breast cancers

For the first time, one of the new immunotherapy drugs has shown… Continue reading

‘Mom I’m in trouble:’ Canadian, Brit face 10 years in jail for alleged graffiti

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — The mother of a Canadian who was arrested… Continue reading

Coyote on the prowl near Penhold

This coyote was out on the prowl in a field just west… Continue reading

Most Read