Ron Laracy confirmed today (Jan. 30) that he has resigned as mayor of the Town of Cupids, citing work commitments as the reason for his unexpected departure.
“I have too much on my plate where I’m working and everything,” Laracy told The Compass.
Laracy denied that his departure had anything to do with a recent disagreement among council members over a proposed pay increase for the town’s two municipal employees.
“It was no issue in particular,” he said. “I just didn’t have time for it.”
Council voted down a proposed five-per cent pay increase for staff during a recent privileged meeting, with only Deputy Mayor Ross Dawe and Coun. Harold Akerman supporting the motion. Both are members of the finance committee.
Laracy and councillors Kevin Connolly, Doug Furey, Christine Burry and Harvey Puddister voted against the increase.
Laracy did not address the issue when contacted by The Compass, but the vote has created some tension on council, with Dawe saying he was disappointed the motion was rejected.
He said council employees have not seen a pay increase in two years, and the cost of living is steadily going up.
“I stood up for the employees to try to give them a raise. You can’t have people working for nothing,” Dawe stated.
“I believe they deserved a small increase.”
Laracy, meanwhile, is a municipal employee with the neighbouring Town of Clarke’s Beach. He was elected to the Cupids town council during a 2008 byelection, and was re-elected in the 2009 municipal general election.
There’s less than eight months remaining in council’s four-year term, and when asked why he couldn’t hang on until his mandate expired, Laracy repeated, “If I don’t have the time, it’s better to move aside and give someone else a chance.”
Attempts to reach other members of the council were unsuccessful, but Dawe said Laracy’s resignation was a surprise.
A council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 5, and a new mayor is expected to be appointed at that time.
When asked if he would seek the job, Dawe said he was “very doubtful,” and that he likely wouldn’t get the support of a majority of his colleagues if he did.
“Knowing the support that I had as head of the finance committee … that lack of support, it’s hard to continue with that in the mayor’s chair.”
When asked who might be the next mayor, Dawe replied: “Maybe some of these councillors that seem to have a lot of answers that didn’t make too much sense to me will take it on.”
Dawe was also non-committal when asked whether he will seek re-election in September.
“It takes up a lot of your time, and I had a bout with cancer last fall. I will have to seriously look at my health. When you’re up in your 60s, you have to consider how much time to devote to public causes. Retirement goes very quickly,” he said.
But Dawe said the town council has been very effective, and managed to fully capitalize on the Cupids 400 celebrations held in 2010.
“It was the biggest celebration any town of our size ever had in the province,” he said. “It was very successful and we had a lot of improvements made in the town.”
Editor's note: for more comprehensive coverage of this issue, pick up a copy of the Feb. 5, 2013 print edition of The Compass.