Essex council appoints Richard Meloche as the town's new mayor

AM800-NEWS-Essex-Council-Deputy-Mayor-Richard-Meloche-July-2-2019

A promotion for Essex deputy mayor Richard Meloche who now finds himself in the mayor's seat.

Council met for a special meeting Monday night to determine how to fill the spot left vacant by Larry Snively who resigned after pleading guilty to a charge under the Municipal Elections Act.

Calling a by-election was another option, but council quickly voted against that opting to appoint Meloche for the remainder of the term.

Councillor Steve Bjorkman says, this late in the term, an appointment makes sense.

"There are far too many things going on right now as far as development, as far as the ins and outs and intricacies of county council. I would look for the mayor's chair to be filled by someone from this council."

Ward 1's Morley Bowman says he's looking for some stability.

"I think it keeps more continuity as we move forward in the end of the year. The continuity is really important as we deal with the various business people on the outside that are investing in our community and to keep that continuity is very necessary."

Councillor Chris Vander Doelen says residents did not want to see the town spend money on a by-election.

"My constituents have been loud and clear in saying that they don't think a by-election is necessary. A by-election, whatever the cost, we would only produce somebody in office for five months and, if they're new, getting up to speed, it would just be a waste. If it was longer, maybe."

When asked if he'd be running for mayor in October's municipal election, Meloche says he's yet to make a decision.

Councillor Sherry Bondy was the lone vote against Meloche's appointment — councillor Joe Garon nominated her for the seat, but Bondy declined.

Next up for council, filling the now vacant deputy mayor's seat which carries the same options, appointment or a by-election.

A special meeting to discuss the issue has been called for January 31 at 6pm.