Warfield council spot open after long-time councillor resigns

Milne served as a councillor for the last seven years before stepping down from public office “for personal reasons.”

Warfield is setting the stage for a byelection after long-time councillor Tom Milne resigned from his role.

Milne served as a councillor for the last seven years before stepping down from public office “for personal reasons.”

Milne told the Trail Times Tuesday he left his post because he never really fit in with the new council and felt pushed out.

“If you were to read my resignation the words are: ‘I’m not sure that I’m accepted or just tolerated and in my opinion, I’m just tolerated,’” he said. “They have a click, they have a slate, and in the last year, I haven’t really been involved in anything.”

Warfield Mayor Ted Pahl thanked Milne for his dedication.

“He did a great job for the village for the last seven years and I just wish him well,” said Pahl. “I’m sorry that he felt that he needed to step away.”

Milne threatened to quit in April after a difficult start to the term. He said he wasn’t included in “unofficial inaugural meetings,” and ended up picking up what committees remained after they were picked over by his colleagues. He also struggled with council’s approach to communication, where, he said, a new recreation deal was negotiated with the City of Trail and yet nothing was brought up in writing beforehand.

“I just find that there is a particular way that government should be run, and everything you do has to be in black and white,” he added. “But they seem to want to fly by the seat of their pants and not follow anything, there is no protocol as far as they’re concerned.”

Pahl was surprised by Milne’s letter of resignation and his perspective on the way business is done. He refutes the notion that decisions or negotiations were made outside of council chambers and council simply has a friendly, open relationship with neighbouring politicians.

Milne has lived in Warfield for 52 years and has been involved in the political community for almost 30 of those years. His experience started on village council in the late 1970s; he later found his voice on the Board of Variance for 13 years before getting back to his councillor seat in 2008.

Milne is watching councils turnover not only locally but across the province and fears a lack of experience in politics.

“We’re not the only community that’s having this problem,” he said.

“It seems to be all over the province with new councils, with people who’ve never been in politics who don’t understand the protocol.”

Salmo and Montrose councils faced the same issue when councillors left their posts.

In Salmo, Diana Lockwood and Jonathon Heatlie took over through acclamation this past summer.

Meanwhile, Montrose is currently in the midst of a byelection with four community members vying for former Coun. Mark Reid’s seat.

Warfield is now planning an upcoming byelection so long as more than one candidate steps forward to rule out someone getting in by acclamation.

Jackie Patridge, the village corporate officer, says there is a strict procedural process to follow, which starts with appointing a chief election officer and setting a general voting day on a Saturday no later than 80 days after this appointment is made.

The village is now adding approximately $4,000 for the potential byelection to its 2016 budget and is still working out all the details.