Chatham-Kent Council appoints Moréna McDonald to fill Ward 3 – East Kent vacancy

Municipality of Chatham-Kent Council has appointed Moréna McDonald to fill the Ward 3 – East Kent vacancy.

The opening was left behind after veteran Councillor Steve Pinsonneault was elected as the MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex earlier this month.

During their meeting on Monday, May 13, 2024, current East Kent Councillor John Wright entered a motion to hold a by-election in Ward 3 to fill the spot, saying this was the direction residents in his ward wanted moving forward.

However, Wright’s motion was defeated.

Chatham Councillor Brock McGregor proceeded to move the staff recommendations to appoint McDonald, who was the third place finisher in the 2022 Municipal Election in East Kent.

McGregor’s motion was approved.

Wallaceburg Councillor Carmen McGregor said Council received dozens of emails leading up to the meeting, some in favour of the appointment and others seeking a by-election.

Councillor Carmen McGregor said McDonald, with her extensive community involvement and commitment combined with her strong showing in the 2022 election, is the perfect candidate to join Council.

In a staff report, Judy Smith, director of municipal governance, recommended to approve the method of asking the candidate having the next highest number of votes from the 2022 municipal election to fill the vacancy.

McDonald has stated in the media that she would accept the appointment, if Council chose to go that route.

Smith said in her report if the recommendation was supported, McDonald should be sworn in as soon as possible.

On Monday night, Smith said this will likely take place at the next Chatham-Kent Council meeting scheduled for May 27, 2024.

“There is approximately two and a half years remaining for the 2022 – 2026 term of office,” Smith said in her report.

“Time is of the essence in filling the vacancy in order to allow Ward 3 appropriate representation. There are two different methods for filling a vacancy, appointment or byelection.”

McDonald finished third in the 2022 election, gathering 1,161 votes, or 21.23%.

Pinsonneault topped the polls in 2022, with 2,049 votes, or 37.47%, while John Wright finished second with 1,727 votes, or 31.58%.

Smith said a by-election would have cost approximately $75,000 and would take an estimated 75 and 90 days to complete.

Read the full report, here.

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