By Patrick Merlihan
Running for elected office for the very first time in 2014 was not a decision made lightly. Aside from my potential conflicts and optics of a newspaper owner running for office, the personal toll of the job on me and my family were given the highest priority. Before making my final decision to put my name forward I did some due diligence to find out if my skills could complement the role of a Councillor in my municipality.
My research started with the job descriptions posted by the municipality. I ventured further afield reading the Municipal Act and other provincial documents posted that seemed relevant. I even signed up and have the certificate to prove it for the “So you want to run for Council” e-learning module hosted by the Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO). When I was comfortable enough with myself and the idea of running for office I had a discussion with my family, colleagues and friends in the community. I had a lot of personal support that led me to make the next step; filing the paperwork.
Just days after filing, an interview with Township staff took place to unload more information about the expectations and rules of running in an election, tracking and filing expenses, and tax roll data to assist with door-to-door canvassing. That was my only contact with the municipality I had until election night when I found out I was successfully elected.