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

Two contentious Red Deer land rezonings are moved ahead by city council

Gunn Street and 51 Street land rezonings discussed

Open house on proposed addictions treatment centre to be held at former Red Deer nightclub

Community is invited to learn more about the $2-million project on May 2

Sri Lanka expats wait to reconnect amid social media block

NEW YORK — Viji Devadas hasn’t heard from her nephew in Sri… Continue reading

US expands probe into air bag failures to 12.3M vehicles

DETROIT — U.S. auto safety regulators have expanded an investigation into malfunctioning… Continue reading

New study suggests oilsands greenhouse gas emissions underestimated

New federal research suggests greenhouse gas emissions from Alberta’s oilsands may be… Continue reading

Oh, yes! Nurse, Raptors look to finish series with Magic

DENVER — In response to an early call, Toronto coach Nick Nurse… Continue reading

Delay of game calls, goalie interference top worst rules for NHLers: survey

The pace and excitement of 3-on-3 overtime isn’t just a thrill for… Continue reading

Avengers get epic send-off at ‘Endgame’ world premiere

LOS ANGELES — There were more than a few sniffles from the… Continue reading

Writers’ Trust launches program pairing rising writers with established mentors

TORONTO — The Writers’ Trust has launched a program that gives five… Continue reading

Family: A potpourri of Easter egg hunts, music and politics

The election is a thing of the past. Albertans have spoken. They… Continue reading

Sri Lankan-Canadians mourn victims of terrorist attack in their homeland

Sri Lankan-Canadians were gathering Monday to mourn those killed in a massive… Continue reading

Residents along Saint John River told to remain on alert as floodwaters rise

FREDERICTON — People who live along New Brunswick’s Saint John River are… Continue reading

Prince Edward Island voters to cast verdict on new electoral system

CHARLOTTETOWN — Canadians are expected to learn late Tuesday whether the cradle… Continue reading

Most Read