Mayor resigns, says health and family influenced decision
Forces byelection within the next 90 days
Jun 19, 2012 06:00 am |
Citing health concerns and the wish to spend more time with family, Lac La Biche County Mayor Peter Kirylchuk resigned on June 19 after nearly eight years in office—forcing a by-election within the next 90 days.
Kirylchuk announced his resignation by a letter on Tuesday morning, effective "immediately." Deputy Mayor Aurel Langevin was named acting-mayor until the by-election, which should happen before Sept. 17. The 74-year-old Kirylchuk said he stepped down so that he could spend more time with his family, and so he can deal with his worsening glaucoma.
"I just wanted to spend more time with my family," Kirylchuk said. "And I have some health concerns that I need to look after."
The resignation was an abrupt one. A Lac La Biche County councillor told the Lac La Biche Post that council had "no idea—nothing, whatsoever" that the mayor was going to step down. The Post first learned of the resignation at a council meeting last Tuesday, where Langevin was named acting-mayor. When his colleagues congratulated him on his new position, the acting-mayor said that it's "a very strange feeling."
MGA rules state that a byelection must take place if a resignation is more than 12 months away from the next scheduled election, which is Oct. 21, 2013. That means that if Kirylchuk had waited three more months before resigning, Lac La Biche County could have operated without holding a byelection—which will have a budgeted cost of $20,000.
Kirylchuk has been the head elected official since the fall of 2004, when he was elected reeve of Lakeland County. After Lakeland County and the Town of Lac La Biche amalgamated, he was elected mayor of Lac La Biche County in 2007 then 2010.
The now-former mayor said he believes that Lac La Biche is in a good place right now—with good finances and with a strong council—and he wishes all the best to his former colleagues. Now the retired educator and former Lac La Biche high school principal said he and his wife Alma hope to travel and see more of their children and grandchildren.
"My wife, for many years, has wanted to travel to Israel—so I want to do that before we're too old and decrepit," he said laughing. "Being in municipal politics for the last eight years, well, it takes a lot of personal time to make sure that you're doing that job right. And I've got a grandson now who shot up three inches in the last couple of months—now we're eye to eye. I don't want to miss any of that."
And with his worsening glaucoma—an eye condition that can lead to blindness—possibly needing surgery, all the signs were pointing to now being a good time to step down.
"There are lots of good people in this community who will be able to step up and bring new ideas and a fresh outlook," he said.
Former Town of Lac La Biche mayor Duane Young told the Post he doesn't plan on re-entering politics. And there is no word yet from Tom Lett, also a former Lac La Biche mayor. Both Young and Lett ran in the 2010 municipal election, losing out to Kirylchuk.
It is up to council to finalize the dates for nominations and election. MGA rules say that a councillor can choose to run for the mayor position if they resign their current position 18 days or more before nomination day—a move that would create yet another byelection for the vacant councillor spot.
Check with the Lac La Biche Post website and Facebook page for more updates.