Pinsonneault on leave from council

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Pinsonneault

East Kent Coun. Steve Pinsonneault is taking a temporary leave of absence from C-K council as he campaigns to become a member of provincial parliament.

According to a letter submitted to council recently, Pinsonneault said his four-week unpaid leave will allow him to focus on becoming Lambton-Kent-Middlesex’s next MPP in the upcoming May 2 by-election.

“I realize that I don’t have to take a leave of absence under the municipal rules, however, I intend to put my full attention to the election process and don’t feel that Chatham-Kent taxpayers should pay for my time away,” Pinsonneault’s statement said.

The by-election will see a total of seven candidates face off to fill the seat left vacant by long-time MPP Monte McNaughton who stepped away from politics last fall.

Pinsonneault, a Ward 3 Chatham-Kent councillor for the past 17 years, was named as the Progressive Conservation candidate in January.

It’s not yet clear how the municipality will fill Pinsonneault’s seat on council if he is elected. A by-election could be called, or the person next in line from the 2022 election could step forward, meaning Morena McDonald would become a Ward 3 councillor.

Currently, there are nine female councillors and nine male councillors on council, as well as Mayor Darrin Canniff. If McDonald fills Pinsonneault’s empty chair, it means that female councillors will outnumber male councillors – 10 to eight – for the first time in the municipality’s history.

According to the municipal clerk’s office, both options will be presented to council at the May 13 council meeting if Pinsonneault is successful.

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