DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard
BROCK: Brock council has decided to fill the vacant Mayor’s seat by holding a by-election.
At a meeting on Monday, February 22nd, councillors saw a report from Clerk Becky Jamieson explaining four options councillors could choose from to name the next Mayor of Brock Township, following the recent death of Mayor Debbie Bath-Hadden. These options included having residents put forward applications to be appointed as Mayor, appointing an existing member of council to the seat, appointing someone who ran unsuccessfully in the last municipal election for the Mayor or regional councillor position, or holding a by-election. Despite these options being available, it was quickly apparent councillors favoured the by-election route. “If we go the route of a by-election, it opens the door for everybody, council members and the public. As was noted in the report, this method probably ensures the greatest amount of democracy. And also it’s probably better for the Mayor to be elected rather than appointed,” Ward 4 Councillor Cria Pettingill explained.
Ward 1 Councillor Michael Jubb stated he’s heard from a lot of residents who prefer for a by-election to be held. “People overwhelmingly want a by-election,” adding it would be the “fairest, most transparent and democratic way,” to select a new Mayor. Ward 2 Councillor Claire Doble cited the issue and optics of councillors potentially appointing the next Mayor, “I’m not sure it’s fair for the six of us to be appointing our mayor.”
Regional Councillor, and current Deputy Mayor, Ted Smith announced he intends to run in the by-election to become the next Mayor.
Ms. Jamieson’s report estimates a by-election could cost the township between $40,000 and $50,000.
A bylaw will be brought forward at a March 22nd council meeting to allow the township to hold a by-election. Vote by Mail was chosen as the election method. If the bylaw is passed, a by-election is expected to be held on June 18th.