Salmo is preparing for a by-election after two village councillors quit suddenly. Cathy Paton and Ken Anderson submitted their resignations this week to the village administrator.
Ken Anderson and Cathy Paton, who topped the polls last fall, both submitted their resignations in writing, but the village has declined to release the letters. Chief administrator Diane Kalen-Sukra said that was based on legal advice, as the letters refer to “confidential matters and personal information.”
Paton said in an email that she wasn’t ready to make a public statement, but was sorry she wasn’t able to continue the job.
“I was honoured that so many residents voted for me, and it was definitely an honour to represent them for the short time I did,” she said.
Anderson did not explain his decision in detail either, but in an email said he had “much upport and encouragement” from Salmo residents.
“I would like to thank the residents of Salmo for the opportunity to represent you on council,” he said. “I was hoping for an enjoyable four years on council to help Salmo move forward in a positive direction, but unfortunately there were a number of issues that caused me to resign. Please stay involved and ask questions; it’s your community.”
Mayor Stephen White said he didn’t know what spurred the resignations.
“No one spoke to me about it so I would have to say I was surprised,” White said in an interview. “Unfortunately I haven’t had an opportunity to speak with either of them yet. There’s no question it’s a loss to the community. Both of these individuals had certainly been instrumental in supporting the initiatives that saw the village turn the corner on financial accountability, reporting requirements, and many other initiatives so to have this happen certainly doesn’t help.”
In the 2014 election, Anderson finished first with 304 votes followed closely by Paton with 299. The resignations, which are effective immediately, leave the normally five-member council with a bare quorum of three. The other councillors are Steven Dimock and Dan Danforth. None had previous elected experience.
Council held a special meeting on Wednesday to reassign council portfolios vacated by the former councillors. In a written statement, it said village services and council meetings will continue without interruption.
Asked if he was disappointed that he hadn’t caught wind of the impending resignations, White replied: “I’m rarely disappointed in people. People have all kinds of reasons for finding that they need to take particular actions and I respect that. I always respect individual decisions like that. Hopefully, at some point, we will have have some discussion about it. But no, I am not disappointed in the individuals.”
White said he had not yet had time to analyze the situation.
“We have to look at the reality that it is not unusual, particularly in the first six months to a year of a new council and in particular when everyone on the council is new that you have people that find that for whatever reason, they may not want to continue.
“We appreciate the contributions of councillors Anderson and Paton and wish them well in all of their future endeavours.
“What’s important if this is the decision you come to, better you come to it now, early in the term so the organization can move on. This is a very resilient village; we’ll move on.”
The next scheduled regular council meeting is on July 14.