By Joe Konecny
Andrew Sloan and Casey Siebenmorgen have joined Ward 2 Councillor Dennis Crevits and Deputy Mayor Tom Marks as candidates for Central Elgin (CE) Mayor in the October 24, 2022 municipal election. The two Port Stanley businessmen joining the mayoral race are among one of the largest fields of CE candidates for municipal office in recent memory.
Nominations closed on Friday, with a total of 22 CE municipal candidates, competing to become mayor, deputy mayor, or one of five ward councilors. It’s believed to be the first time ever that electors will have a choice between four mayoral candidates.
“I believe Central Elgin needs someone with a vision and strategy to make affordability for all residents our first goal,” said Sloan. His father George Sloan practiced medicine in Elgin County for 40 years and delivered more than 10,000 babies. George also served as a St. Thomas alderman, and as chairman and four-term member of the school board.
“Long time residents are leaving Central Elgin and moving to places where they can afford water and taxes,” added Sloan. “We can’t accept four more years of increased costs. Residents have a clear choice: unchecked spending and costs, or working together and making our community affordable.”
Sloan is a building contractor with a home in Port Stanley and a farm south of Belmont. With a Masters of Business Administration, he has served as Director of Parliamentary Affairs for Canada’s Minister of Agriculture, as well as head of communications and government relations for one of Canada’s largest steel companies. Sloan is also a volunteer organist at Christ Anglican Church in Port Stanley.
“My first job was at the family farm market (Salt Creek Farm Market, now Howe’s Farm Market and Country Bakery) where I started to get to know the rural community and the challenges they face,” said Sloan.
Siebenmorgen finished third in the 2018 Central Elgin mayoral race, behind Sally Martyn and David Marr. He launched Casey’s Drywall 30 years ago and makes his living in commercial and residential construction, working with steel and wood, across Ontario. He also operates a live edge timber products business, The Woodshed, on Sunset Road.
“I just want to clean up the nonsense,” said Siebenmorgen. “I want people to be informed, and to have a say.. We’ve got to stop the waste.”
Siebenmorgen’s priorities if elected are to better manage the budget, while eliminating administrative redundancies lingering here since the amalgamation of the Township of Yarmouth with the Villages of Belmont and Port Stanley in 1998.
He admires the approach that Dutton Dunwich Council has taken. In 2019, Dutton Dunwich Council voted unanimously to reduce expenditures by eliminating the position of chief administrator. The municipality’s senior staff now report directly to the mayor and council.
“There are ways to eliminate costs,” added Siebenmorgen. “(CE senior staff) don’t need to be on the Sunshine List.” (The province’s annual ‘Sunshine List’ of public sector workers who are paid more than $100,000 a year was released March 25, 2022 with more than 240,000 names.)
“That’s the taxes from 30 homes to cover one wage,” he said. “I don’t blame the people who work there, (but) a lot of people used to work for the municipality because it was their way of giving back to the community. Now, if a kid gets a job there, it’s like a golden ticket.
“Right now, council is working for the administrative staff,” he added. “That’s got to change. I want more clarity on the day-to-day. The day-to-day needs be explained a little more.”
CE’s Certified List of Candidates (The List) also includes financial services professional Todd Noble, of Union, who is mounting a campaign to become Deputy Mayor. Noble is up against incumbent Ward 1 Councillor Colleen Row and Bill Harrington.
The List also registers Michelle Graham and Mike Derrough as candidates for Ward 1 Councillor.
Ward 2 features a race between Council colleagues, incumbent Mayor Sally Martyn and Ward 3 Incumbent Councilor Karen Cook. There are also two newcomers vying for the Ward 2 seat, Morgaine Halpin and Sherlock Reid.
Bill Fehr is the incumbent in Ward 4, but Fehr is now running in Ward 3. That race includes Dan Carter, Douglas Medlyn and Norm Watson.
Harold Winkworth is running in Ward 4, up against David Conners.
Incumbent Ward 5 Councillor Fiona Wynne is not running again. Rob McFarlan, David Baughman and Bill Sporbeck are registered candidates for Ward 5.
Read more North Shore Beacon municipal election coverage.