Tammy VanRoon is making another run for council.
She made an unsuccessful run for a spot on Elliot Lake City Council in 2018.
She finished seventh in the race for six councillor's seats after publicly stating she would not be able to mount a strong campaign four years ago.
VanRoon had served on the previous council in place from 2014-18.
Her father passed away around the same time that campaigning was gearing up last time.
Fast forward to 2022, the Elliot Lake real estate professional has become the third unofficial candidate running for the next council.
ElliotLakeToday - What prompted you to run again?
I have decided to run because I wish to continue to serve my community, provide good leadership, to plan and build for our future. I feel I have the experience and knowledge to assist the next council in achieving our community's goals, along with resolving some uncompleted projects. The specific deciding factor is my concern for Elliot Lake's housing situation.
As a real estate broker I have seen an alarming amount of private residential landlords sell, leaving a shortage of rental units available. With new development coming to Elliot Lake, my knowledge in the requirements to developers will be an asset to council.
ElliotLakeToday - E-voting is not being done in Elliot Lake in 2022 but mail-in voting is. How do you feel about this? Can you see any advantages or pitfalls?
In the last election voter turnout was down by approximately 30 percent. That said, I am not confident that mail in ballots will garner more votes, as individuals would still need to leave their home to return their ballot. I have reservations about the security of E-voting.
ElliotLakeToday - Do you have any suggestions for improving our election process? i.e. nomination, registration, voting, campaign reporting, training requirements, etc.?
To date I have had no concerns or complaints regarding our election process locally. The previous council implemented mandatory training for new councilors, which I strongly advocate.
ElliotLakeToday - What qualities, attitudes, experience or aspirations should the voters look for when they examine the field of candidates who register to run in next fall's municipal election?
A passion for the community, a commitment to do the right thing with honesty and integrity, an understanding of public sector finance, budgets, residential/commercial and industrial development, bylaws, volunteer work in the community. The desire to welcome open communication from members of the community. Critical thinking skills, the ability to listen to an opposing view with an open mind.
ElliotLakeToday - How do you feel about the current training requirements for newly-elected councillors?
I sat on the council that passed the motion to require up do date AMO recognized training on the roles and responsibilities of councillors. This training is extremely important for new councillors along with those with experience to ensure that all members are fully aware of their limitations, roles and responsibilities. Ongoing training as legislation changes is also important.
ElliotLakeToday - Do you feel any changes need to be made to the current Elliot Lake City Council committee system? I.e. selection process, makeup, remuneration, responsibilities?
With reference to standing committees, the mayor is responsible for assigning councillors to the various standing committees at the start of a new term. I feel this process seems to work well.
With reference to committees involving members of the public who are applying to sit on various committees, they should be made up of volunteers who provide a resume that expresses a passion for that particular area along with qualifications and experience.
Volunteers in our community should be compensated for any out of pocket expenses.
ElliotLakeToday - We all know about the impacts of inflation. Although council hasn't had a wage review since 2017, should council remuneration be looked at again?
No, I believe that the remuneration for councillors is fair at the present rate. I do believe that the benefits package offered to councillors requires review. It has increased significantly since my term on council 2014-18
ElliotLakeToday - Having direct experience with the Integrity Commissioner process, have you any comment on its value, effectiveness or other?
I believe members of the public should have the ability to file grievances against council members for misconduct, or for issues surrounding conflict of interest. I do not believe that the integrity commissioner in the early days of this term worked to resolve disputes in an unbiased manner.
Unfortunately, it seemed that the complaints that were filed exacerbated disputes amongst council, many of which should have been dismissed as frivolous, in my opinion. It also makes little sense that council itself imposes the penalty.
The legislation requiring a municipality to procure integrity commissioners is relatively new, and flawed. I hope it is reviewed, for a more streamlined process to ensure accountability to the public, with less financial impact.
Council was wise in its decision to replace the (previous) integrity commissioner, (E4M) in favor of Robert Swayze.
There is value in council having the ability to seek advice from the integrity commissioner with respect to any potential conflict of interest issues, again, there have been fairly recent changes to the legislation as to what constitutes a conflict.