Shelley found to be ‘true volunteer’

Harrison firefighter throws hat back in ring for Harrison council

Richard Shelley is prepared to run as a councillor in the upcoming Harrison Hot Springs by-election. Shelley was deposed of his seat as councillor shortly after being elected last November in the general election, after his nomination was challenged by another candidate, Andrew Baziuk.

Baziuk argued that Shelley was not legally eligible to run for council, because he was also a fire fighter for the Village. While firefighters are called volunteers in the Village, they do receive remuneration for their service. Shelley did not step down in his role as a firefighter to run for council, and asked for his pay to be waived after he was elected.

Shelley narrowly defeated Baziuk in that election, with less than 10 votes between them.

In February, a Supreme Court judge ruled that Shelley had been ineligible to run for council at the time of his election, and ordered a by-election. He did not state Shelley could not run again.

Shelley said he will indeed run again, and he filed his nomination papers last week by deadline. His nomination was again challenged – this time by fellow candidate Leslie Ghezeshan, who also ran in the November election.

On Tuesday, Shelley told the Observer that a judge has found him eligible for candidacy, and that he was looking forward to starting his campaign efforts to be re-elected.

“I was found to be a true volunteer and his application was dismissed,” Shelley said. “After that ruling, there is no appealing it.”

He was obviously happy with that ruling, which will allow him to maintain his role as a firefighter if he were to be re-elected.

“The previous decision was based on the fact that at the relevant time I was still entitled to remuneration,” he said. “But now, because I established a request (as of December 4), I am considered a volunteer.”

If elected, Shelley would have to step out of any discussions that directly benefit him, he said. Shelley is one of nine candidates in the May 12 by-election.