Eric Schmalz wins RM of PA byelection to become reeve

Eric Schmalz (pictured) is one of three candidates running for the position of reeve in the Rural Municipality of Prince Albert. -- Submitted photo.

Eric Schmalz has been chosen as the next Reeve of the RM of Prince Albert.

A by-election for the vacant position was held Wednesday.

Facebook posts indicated that Schmalz received 316 votes, with Doug Phelps coming in second with a reported 252 votes and Paul Rybka receiving 133.

Schmalz confirmed his vote totals and that the voter turnout was the largest in the RM’s history when reached by phone Wednesday evening.

“I want to congratulate my fellow candidates for a cordial and respectful campaign,” Schmalz said.

“There was some controversy around the campaign and things could have gotten a little bit unpleasant. Thankfully, because of their character, they were able to keep things respectful and cordial.”

While Schmalz was in a celebratory mood Wednesday, the work of Reeve starts right away.

“Tonight, I’m going to focus,” he said. “There’s an RM council meeting first thing in the morning, so I’m going to be focusing on doing my homework.”

That included going through the policies and procedures of council, as well as what’s on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting.

“What I really want to get on top of is our position within the Prince Albert regional economic development alliance,” he said, “and I want to start working with some of our policing partners in the RM to curb some of the crime going on. That’s going to be top of mind for me in this meeting tomorrow.”

Schmalz is a former RCMP officer who was born in Prince Albert. He has lived in the RM for the last 10 years.