Elliot Lake councillor Connie Nykyforak has resigned her seat on council. The resignation is effective immediately.
“Although this is not council’s desired outcome, it was not completely unexpected,” Mayor Dan Marchisella told ElliotLakeToday in a text message following a city press release on the resignation. “Being a member of council can be extremely time consuming and both physically and mentally trying at times.”
“For anyone to want to represent their community is an amazing show of heart and spirit, which is why I wish to thank Ms. Nykyforak for her service to the city over the past term and wish her well in her future endeavours,” the mayor added.
Attempts to contact the councillor for comment were not successful.
According to the city news release, the city has the option to call a by-election to fill the post or appoint a member of the public who would consent to take on the job until the October municipal election. Council has until March 26 to declare the seat vacant.
However, the mayor said he expects the position will be filled through an appointment and indicated a candidate with previous council experience has already said she is willing to serve the rest of the term. He said her appointment will not be on March 26 because she will not be in the community on that day.
The mayor said he was “legally bound,” to make it public. The resignation resulted in the city shutting off the city-owned phone the councillor had along with other city-owned services she received in her capacity as a councillor.
The resignation comes after council, in a closed meeting Monday evening, approved stripping Coun. Nykyforak of all her positions on city advisory boards and committees. Those committees include arts and culture, seniors and recreation. Also included are the advisory committees for Algoma Public Health and Huron Lodge.
In that decision, council decided to disband the current library board and replace it with a new library board comprised of two members of council – councillors Chris Patrie and Ed Pearce — and look for three members of the public to be appointed to the remaining seats. The library board was made up of seven members which included council representatives.
Nykyforak's resignation is the third councillor resignation in past seven months. In September, councillors Scot Reinhart and Candace Martin resigned.
All three councillors were the subject of two investigations carried out by the city’s integrity commissioner, Robert Swayze. The investigations were based on staff complaints about the conduct of the councillors either at meetings or regular work hours. Swayze issued his first report in December and in February with both indicating the councillors had overstepped their responsibilities contained in the city’s councillor code of conduct regulations.
Mayor Marchisella would not comment on whether the actions taken on Monday and the subsequent resignation were the result of any threatened legal action in connection with the former library board and Nykyforak who was a member.
“Hopefully this will close that loop,” he said about legal matters pending against the city.
In a telephone interview following Thursday’s city new release, the mayor said with the resignations and two new appointees in place and a third to be appointed, he predicts council will now be able to deal with “important city issues.”
“It should be smooth sailing,” he said.