North Perth and others hold candidate briefings ahead of municipal elections

NORTH PERTH – As nomination day approaches, a number of municipalities in Perth County are holding their second candidate information workshop.

On April 13, Fred Dean gave a presentation on running. Dean is a lawyer with a long history of working with municipalities across Ontario. He gave advice and praise to those who sought advice.

“I think anyone, whether a candidate or not, who is considering being on the board is [taking] a big step,” Dean said. “Council members are community leaders, and then they take on an important and substantial role within each of the respective communities. It’s really important.

“Local government is an exciting and rewarding place. It makes a huge difference. If you decide to run in the municipal elections, you will have a huge impact on your community.

Dean went on to say that local government is distinct from other levels of politics. “Local government is accountable and transparent, like no other level of government, far more accountable and far more transparent.”

Not only that, but they also do a lot for the community – way more than people might initially think. He instructed the participants to write down everything the local government does.

“It’s astounding,” he said. “If you get to 50 or 75 articles, you’ve done pretty well. I mean, you’re not even close. The list has well over 100 services provided by local government.

Dean said that in order to run for council, you have to ask questions. Running for municipal elections is a big undertaking:

“What is the job description? Why are you running? What do you expect him to do when you are elected? Understand the role of other people in the organization, what are their responsibilities? You are not a manager, you cannot direct work, you cannot micromanage your organization. Take the time to understand your personal obligations under the Code of Conduct before registering and understand what the obligations are. Talk to your family. This is a family decision, as it will have a significant impact on your relationship with your family members. Let them know what you’re getting into and make sure you can normalize your life, if you will, around these new demands and commitments. I started by saying congratulations. I really think so. I think even considering running for the board deserves kudos. It’s a huge step.

Applications open May 2. Those looking to run for council or as a school trustee can find the information sessions, held April 6 and 13, on the North Perth website. For more information, you can contact Lindsay Cline at the Clerk’s Office.

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Melissa C. Keyes