Russ Fortier stepped down from his post as reeve of the Township of Emo last week, citing “personal reasons” for the sudden departure.
“I’m tired, worn out,” he said Friday morning. “It’s time to take care of myself.”
He said although it was a difficult decision, he gave notice to Couns. Ken Fisher, Gary Judson, Harri Sheloff, and Ed Carlson last Wednesday.
Coun. Carlson, the deputy reeve, will take over the position until the municipal election in November. He said council meetings will run “business as usual.”
“I don’t foresee any changes in anything,” Coun. Carlson noted, though saying he and the other councillors will sincerely miss Fortier.
“I really, really hate to see him go, but we’ll just have to carry on,” he said.
Coun. Carlson conceded Fortier’s departure came as quite a surprise.
“I had no idea it was coming,” he remarked, adding he and the other councillors were shocked.
“But he had his reasons and it is his business. I certainly didn’t press him other than to try to get him to change his mind and stay on until November,” Coun. Carlson chuckled.
“But he just felt it wasn’t the right thing to do for him or for the municipality.”
Coun. Carlson said he feels “good” about stepping into the role as reeve of the township, but has a few reservations.
“The time commitment is tough for me because I am a fairly active person in other ways, too,” he explained. “It’s a huge commitment. [But] it is only until November, so it’s something I’m just going to face and do the best I can do.
“And it will be okay,” he assured. “We’ll manage.”
He also stressed Fortier certainly will be missed, especially for his vast amount of knowledge and understanding about how things work.
“Although he is just a phone call away,” Coun. Carlson added. “He did assure me of that. So we can certainly tap into his expertise in areas.”
Fortier not only will be replaced as reeve, but also as a member of the Northwestern Health Unit’s board of health and the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association board as he was appointed to these posts by the local municipal association.