Fingler wins Morinville byelection
Lifelong resident squeaks into a council seat
By: Kevin Ma
| Posted: Thursday, Sep 20, 2012 06:00 am
A lifelong Morinville resident has squeaked out a win to become the town's newest councillor.
Sheldon Fingler was declared the winner of the 2012 Morinville council byelection at around 9 p.m. Thursday. Some 263 people cast their ballots in favour of the 40-year-old town resident, putting him just 32 votes ahead of runner up Kevin Wedick.
Fingler said he was happy and ecstatic when he heard the news.
“I'm glad the community believed in me and is giving me a chance to make the community better,” he said.
Born and raised in Morinville, Fingler is the owner of Infinite Event Services and a first time councillor.
He already works 40 to 60 hours a week, so Fingler said he'd have to do a lot of juggling to keep his civic and family life balanced.
“I'm going to give up on sleep and start preparing,” he said.
Town council called the byelection due to the departure of Ben Van De Walle, who stepped down earlier this year for health reasons.
Fingler said he was surprised by the variety of issues he heard while on the campaign trail.
“There was not one significant issue that jumped out,” he said, with voters talking about everything from photo radar to community services.
“The biggest message I took away isn't a single message. It's that you've got to listen to people.”
Fingler said his accessibility might have given him an edge in the election.
“People want a councillor to be accessible,” he said. “I think people liked the fact that I answered the phone when they called.”
His phone numbers are public knowledge, he noted, and he encouraged residents to call him.
“I want people to call me day and night.”
Just 734 valid votes were counted in the election, according to the town's website, suggesting a voter turnout of about 14 per cent.
It could have been better, Fingler said of the turnout, but it's tough to get people out to vote in a byelection.
“I'm just happy about the people who got out and voted,” he said.
Fingler congratulated his fellow candidates for taking part in the election.
“It takes a lot of courage and a strong individual to step up and put their name out there for a vote,” he said.
He didn't go into this race with a strong sense that he'd win, but Fingler said he was still surprised by how close it turned out.
“Kevin came in a very close second,” he said, and obviously has a group of people that believe in him.
“I want to be able to represent their thoughts as well.”
He planned to meet with Wedick in the near future.
Candidate Jim O'Brien came third in the polls with 114 votes, followed by former mayoral candidate Joseph Trapani with 60. Jackie Luker-Chevalier came next with 56 votes, and Bonnie Moerike came last with 10.
Fingler will be sworn in as councillor at a council meeting next Monday.
The Gazette will have remarks from the other candidates later this week.