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Neepawa mayor resigns

Cites stress as reason for his decision to leave politics

KEITH BORKOWSKY/BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

BRANDON -- Ken Waddell says frustration is the root reason behind his surprise decision to resign as mayor of Neepawa.

Waddell handed in his resignation on Wednesday and it took effect immediately.

"I just don't feel I can handle it anymore, it's just too stressful... physically, I'm fine. It's emotionally, I'm a bit drained," Waddell said in an interview after he handed in his letter of resignation.

Waddell outlined the reasons for his departure in the interview and in a press release in which he made it clear he will not run for mayor as he'd previously planned.

"Things have kind of, I think, mounted up a bit in the last two or three months," he said. "I just had to re-examine whether I wanted to do this."

Waddell was elected mayor in a byelection on Feb. 28, 2012, and replaced Ron Forsman, who resigned the previous December due to health reasons. Waddell was previously mayor from 1998 to 2002.

He said he decided to resign about three days ago, after discussing matters with his wife, Christine, and his family.

Waddell said he can no longer handle the workload and stress of being mayor, and there are too many things that need to change.

For one, he said he feels muzzled at times by town rules.

He said the Municipal Act requires the mayor to vote on every resolution, but town rules state the mayor can't debate those resolutions.

As a result, Waddell said, the mayor shoulders much of the responsibility for decisions he or she has no input into.

Waddell seems to be referring to a section of the town bylaw regarding council meetings that states: "If the chair desires to present or second a motion, or participate in debate, he must leave the chair and call upon one of the members to fill his place until he resumes the chair."

In addition, he said, over the years, he hasn't agreed with council on human resource issues. He said council gets too involved in such issues, although he wouldn't elaborate in his interview.

Neepawa is 185 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg, on the Yellowhead Highway.

Town CAO Richard Beachey said, under the Municipal Act, with less than 12 months to go to the next civic election, council has the option of not holding a byelection to fill the mayor's seat. It can appoint someone to the role for the remainder of the term, and all council members are eligible.

 

-- Brandon Sun

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