Due to a procedural error, the Municipality of Casselman was without a mayor for two full days during the past week. Mayor Daniel Lafleur resigned on November 29 and was re-appointed to the position on December 2.
According to municipal Clerk Sébastien Dion, Linda Desjardins-Bergeron left as the municipality’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) on September 14. In response, council appointed Lafleur as temporary CAO. However, the Ontario Municipal Act prohibits an employee of the municipality from being an elected member of council.
Dion said the municipality received a letter from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing on November 3, explaining the section of the Municipal Act being contravened by appointing the mayor as CAO. Dion said the ministry letter did not imply any fault, or indicate it would take any action. In response to the ministry’s letter, council decided on November 9 to instead establish a five-member Temporary Administrative Committee to perform the functions of CAO. The mayor and clerk are members of the committee, and it will be dissolved once a new CAO is hired.
On December 1, Lafleur said his temporary resignation was done to satisfy the requirements of the Municipal Act and he had already submitted his application to be re-appointed as mayor.
“It’s just a formality,” the mayor explained.
On December 2, Casselman council met and accepted Lafleur’s application and approved a by-law appointing him as mayor until the end of the present term on November 14, 2022. However, United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) council also held a special session on December 2 and adopted a resolution declaring Casselman’s seat on council vacant because Lafleur—the municipality’s representative, had resigned. Now that Lafleur is again mayor, he will be re-appointed as Casselman’s representative on UCPR council at a future date.