Following sentencing, Snively resigns as mayor of the city of Essex


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Larry Snively’s sudden departure as mayor and leader of the city of Essex leaves a politically vacant position and a big question.

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Who will now be in charge of the municipality?

As soon as Snively on Wednesday morning, the municipal clerk announced his decision that he was resigning, with effect immediately, Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche automatically took over the title of acting mayor.

At the next ordinary city council meeting on Monday, the mayoral seat will be declared vacant.

“What we’ll probably do that night is ask the clerk to return with options,” Meloche told Star.

With only 10 months until the next municipal election, and with a provincial vote already set for late spring, he said he prefers not to print a mayoral election, but instead to let the council appoint someone to fill the post until October.

The Deputy Mayor of the City of Essex, Richard Meloche, is pictured in this 2019 file.
The Deputy Mayor of the City of Essex, Richard Meloche, is pictured in this 2019 file. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

Meloche said he would like to see the administration report back with options at a special meeting on January 24 (a date originally set for negotiations on a budget already approved) and get the council to decide the matter accordingly.

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“While this decision is being made with regret, I have made this decision both freely and voluntarily,” Snively said in his note, which was delivered in person to the municipal secretary.

Addressing the city of Essex and its inhabitants, the short note gave no justification for the decision, but it came a few days after Snively pleaded guilty to violating the local election law and was fined $ 10,000 by a justice of the peace. He was convicted of “inciting or obtaining a person to vote when the person was not entitled to it.”

Contacted later in the morning, Snively told the Star: “It was an honest mistake. There was certainly no intention whatsoever to be skewed.”

Snively was charged after a complaint to the Ontario Provincial Police and subsequent investigation stemming from the 2018 local elections.

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“For over 12 years I have served in the Essex Town Council and I am proud of what the city and its council have jointly achieved for its residents,” Snively said in the statement. “I would like to thank the residents of the city of Essex for the opportunity to have served both as your mayor and as a member of the council.”

In a press release from the city immediately after Snively’s sentencing in the county’s criminal court on Friday, Meloche said the council “condemns the actions that led to this offense.” However, the statement added that Snively “intends to serve the remainder of this term.”

Essex City Councilor Sherry Bondy is pictured in a July 2016 photo.
Essex City Councilor Sherry Bondy is pictured in a July 2016 photo. Photo by Jason Kryk /Windsor Star

But count. Sherry Bondy, who represents Harrow on the Essex council, told the Star she made a request the next day for an “emergency proposal” to be considered on Monday to discuss the mayor’s continued tenure as council chair. “He has lost the confidence of the council,” she said.

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Asked if Bondy’s stated intent had anything to do with his resignation decision, which was announced Wednesday, Snively replied, “Exactly.”

But Meloche told Star that if no one else had made such a statement, he would have done so next week. “I let him know last Friday that he was going to resign,” he said.

“I’m relieved he made that decision. It’s a trust issue with the residents,” Meloche said. “We can start moving forward again.”

And that’s what Snively said he does. Before noon on Wednesday, he told that he had already received two job offers.

Regarding any future in politics, Snively said: “That was it. I’ll turn 68 in a few months and I’ll spend time with my grandchildren.”

In his farewell letter, Snively wrote that he was “particularly proud of the growth and development that has taken place in the city during the recent council term.” He added that he will “continue to help the city by working with developers in every way I can, to help continue the development of this amazing city.”

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The municipality released its own media release on Wednesday, describing Snively as a “proven leader” who attracted new development and business.

“I would like to assure the residents that the city of Essex will continue to operate at full capacity,” said CEO Doug Sweet.

“While the recent news about the mayor has been disappointing, we would like to thank Larry for his leadership and dedication during his time on the council,” Sweet added.

The city of Essex Mayor Larry Snively is seen in this file from election night 2018.
The city of Essex Mayor Larry Snively is seen in this file from election night 2018. Photo by Taylor Campbell /Windsor Star

Bondy has already declared his intention to run for mayor, and Meloche told Star on Wednesday that it is also his intention after recently retiring professionally.

If Meloche goes from acting mayor to appointed mayor in Snively’s absence, then his council colleagues must decide how to fill the vacant deputy mayor post.

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