"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Sunday 11 May 2008


Next Tuesday an external legal consultant will attend council to advise on complexities created by our procedure bylaw. I voted against the last revision. The lawyer has given two written opinions already. The first was simple and to the point. It was one full page and a couple of lines. It confirmed my contention that the town's bylaw could not supersede provincial legislation.

That legislation calls for a decision to be made about how a vacancy will be filled within sixty days of the declaration of the vacancy. A special meeting of council was called last Monday to attend to the matter. I moved the seat be declared vacant and filled by by-election.

It was requested the question be called in two parts. The first part was adopted. The second part won a vote of four to three; a majority. The Mayor voted and created a tie.

The Mayor stated she had been afraid of that and noted the matter could not now be reconsidered for six months. The clerk confirmed that contention. I argued the position was not tenable. Provincial law cannot be superseded by local bylaw. I added that a tie vote is not a decision. A decision is still pending, and under Provincial law, must be made within sixty days. It cannot wait for six months.

At that point the clerk stated he needed an outside legal opinion on the matter

Notwithstanding that advice, it was moved and seconded that the seat be filled by appointment. The motion was accepted by the Mayor. The form for appointment was on the table before each councillor. The vote was five to three.

At that point Councillor Gaertner moved the matter be deferred until the legal advice was obtained. Councillor Gaertner is on record as stating her conviction that council must listen to the people and do what they want. That motion passed.

Before the start of last Tuesday's council-in-committee meeting, Councillor McRoberts informed me he intended to put forward a Notice of Motion for the question of filling the vacancy to be reconsidered. I advised against it. A commitment had been made to the public that the matter would be dealt with at the next Council meeting. The mayor had indicated all emails received from the public would be part of the agenda. It was intended the people would be heard before a decision is made.

Councillor McRoberts said the Clerk had informed him it had to be done this way.

It was not part of the agenda. We had no motion in writing before us. It was a notice of motion. Nevertheless, Chairperson Evelina MacEachern put the notice of motion to a vote and it received five votes to three.

Votes in committee of council are not final. They must be ratified by the formal meeting of council. The following day the Mayor informed the media the question of a by-election was off the table. She repeated that assertion at a breakfast meeting of the Chamber of Commerce the following day. She sted she had received twenty emails supporting a by-election and twenty for an appointment.

My inbox has more than eighty emails to council (and still counting!!) requesting a by-election as the only democratic way of filling the vacancy. Five are in in favour of appointment plus one anonymous.

Subsequent to a challenge by Councillor Collins-Mrakas to the Mayor's perception, the lawyer who had already given an opinion, was asked to "revise" his opinion and we subsequently received a four-page dissertation. As I understand it, council is still required to deal with the question. A vote in committee rejecting reconsideration is not a final outcome.

The lawyer will be present on Tuesday to further clarify his advice if need be.


Anonymous said...

What is it with Morris and her band syncophants. Every time they disagree with staff, a lawyer is hired to get a decision they want to hear. Why don't they just fire all senior staff and save the money for another Mark Street project.
By the way isn't it ironic that the turnover in senior staff began in earnest with Phyllis Morris' initial election to council. Remember Marc Neeb?
Some members of the public can blame you Evelyn, but it just shows some people are dumber than a bag of bricks, since they bought Ms. Morris claim she was the magic elixir to fix council dysfunction.

Anonymous said...

Shows how little you know. Check the names - the mover and seconder of that motion. It wasn't "Morris and her band synophants". It was Buck's "friends".

Fortunately some people do have the courage to stand up to the bullies and do what's right for our community. You nasty bunch!!