Sayward council dysfunction continues with second councillor resignation

Sayward council dysfunction continues with second councillor resignation

The Village of Sayward council is poised to pass its annual budget later this week, but it will miss a provincial deadline due to dysfunction among its mayor and councillors.

Four days ago, Sayward coun. Tom Tinsley became the second councillor to resign this year, leaving a council that many are calling divisive and fractious.

“It’s usually a constant gong show really,” said Rock Allcroft, a Sayward resident.

“When there’s yelling and screaming at each other and swearing, councillors retiring or quitting, it doesn’t seem right.”

In his resignation letter, Tinsley stated, “I have found that the excessive number of council meetings with limited productivity over approximately the last 18 months no longer allows me to maintain my health while meeting other obligations personally and professionally.”

That now leaves just the mayor and two councillors. When Mayor Mark Baker walked out of a recent meeting, there was no quorum, meaning the budget couldn’t pass.

Story continues below

Jackie Lyons, who’s been living in Sayward for 10 years, says the dysfunction has been high.

“It’s been horrific, and it’s been horrific since the council was elected a year and a half ago, plus a few more months,” she told CHEK News.

On Tuesday, the mayor and his two councillors passed the first, second and third readings of the annual budget. They’re poised to pass the final reading Thursday, two days after the provincial deadline.

“The mayor has tried his best. He’s a great mayor, we think. Others have other opinions,” said Lyons.

Mayor Baker declined an on-camera interview Tuesday, saying that much of the dysfunction occurs at in-camera meetings and cannot be discussed.

In the past two and a half years, the village has had five chief administrative officers. A lack of staff has meant that council recordings haven’t been uploaded to the web since January.

One former CAO says staff retention has been an issue.

“Sometimes you kind of have to drag politicians kicking and screaming to the place you’re paying market for the type of people you’re trying to find, and typically the village has not really grasped that,” said John France.

France says he’s open to running for a council seat.

“It’s not the end of times for them. I think they just need a reset and get back on track. It’s a great little community. Lots of good people there,” said France.

The province brought in a temporary advisor who’s been working in the village for two weeks. So far, everyone believes the outside voice has been an asset.

READ PREVIOUS: ‘It’s hard to be sitting at that table’: Sayward councillor quits over dysfunction

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!