A letter to the editor published in these pages on Thursday, January 13, 2022, entitled ‘Too much secrecy and unilateral decision-making at Catholic School Board’ requires correction as it concerns the legal obligations and process followed to fill a recent trustee vacancy.
As Chair of the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board (NPSC), it is my duty to do so.
Our Board of Trustees and the NPSC community were profoundly saddened by the sudden passing of our fellow Trustee, Linda Jamieson, on October 28, 2021. Linda made many significant contributions to our Board over the years and she will be greatly missed.
In these circumstances, since the next regular municipal election was more than one month away, the law required that the vacancy created by Ms. Jamieson’s passing, be filled within 90 days. Reference is made to sections 221 and 224 of the Education Act which impose these requirements.
The Board did indeed have the option of holding a by-election to fill the vacancy.
At a special meeting held on November 10, 2021, we chose instead to appoint a replacement trustee, which was the other option accorded to us by law. The Board was unanimous in its view that the best interests of its constituents would not be served by holding a by-election, because of the enormous cost. In the interests of transparency, the Board took steps to advertise the vacancy to solicit applications from qualified candidates.
In addition to announcing the vacancy through its various communication platforms during the month of November, the Board also purchased advertisements in the North Bay Nugget and on BayToday. Two applications were received, one of which was from a qualified candidate.
The Board interviewed and approved the successful trustee candidate’s appointment at a special meeting held January 5, 2022, thereby meeting the 90-day deadline to fill the vacancy.
We are fortunate to have found such a qualified and competent candidate to fill the vacancy on our board and we thank her for her keen interest in serving and advocating on behalf of Catholic education. Her perspectives will be welcomed as we continue to focus on the achievement and well-being of our students and support them in reaching their full potential.
Leo de Jourdan
Chair, Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board