& DARRYL KNIGHT
SCUGOG: In a somewhat surprising move, Council decided to remove Regional Councillor Bobbie Drew from her role of Deputy Mayor earlier this week.
The decision was made during a special council meeting on Monday, May 4, in a move that Mayor Tom Rowett hopes leads to a more efficiently run council, building on changes that have been planned for several months, since the municipal election last fall.
“When we were first elected into office we had a very newly elected council, and we said after the first few months that we would be looking at changing the business units as they are called,” explained Mayor Rowett. “Now we are at the stage where we are ready to change it so that it’s more efficient for all of us.”
A motion made by Ward 3 Councillor Don Kett explained that the position would work on a rotating basis. However Councillor Drew and Ward 4 Councillor Wilma Wotten did not support the motion, and opted to remove themselves from the rotation.
“I feel it’s premature and we should have given it another six months,” Councillor Wotten said.
Councillor Drew is the most experienced member currently on Council, acclaimed for a second term as Regional Councillor in last year’s municipal election. Prior to that, she served for two terms as Scugog’s Ward 2 Councillor after more than a decade as Public School Board Trustee.
Under the new parameters of the Deputy Mayor position, Councillor Kett will serve as Deputy Mayor from April until June and November until December. Ward 5 Councillor Jennifer Back will serve from July until October and Ward 1 Councillor Betty Somerville will serve from January until March.
Councillor Drew felt that the lack of office space impeded her ability to act as Deputy Mayor.
“The councillors office is always fully occupied. So I don’t know how the deputy mayor can be here in the office when the deputy mayor does not have access to this place,” she said. “Just recently I was denied access to [The Mayor’s] office.”
The comment regarding office space caused backlash from Councillors Kett and Back, who noted that the requirement of office space is necessary to their positions as councillors.
“You have the nerve to come to us and say you don’t have a chance because we are always here, we’re doing our jobs,” Councillor Back argued.
“It seems like every time that there’s action being taken by the town, Councillor Drew seems to want to stick her nose in and get things changed around,” added Councillor Kett.
Councillor Drew noted that the attacks had reached a personal nature, and a motion was made that forced an apology from Councillor Kett and Councillor Back.
The changes to the position of Deputy Mayor will go into effect immediately.