Councillors raise race for mayor at council meeting
By DOUGLAS GLYNN June 2 20101
The race for mayor wasn’t listed on town council’s official agenda last week.
But in a bizarre, Twilight Zone kind of twist, it became part of a discussion under “news business.”
(In case you hadn’t heard, Coun. Gordon McKay is challenging Mayor Jim Downer for the job.)
Coun. Bob Jeffery raised the topic by announcing he was proud to be a member of council. He went on to say that in the past when asked when he might run for mayor
But, he said, he didn’t think now was the time; that he would wait until he felt a new mayor was needed. Then, turning to Mayor Downer, Jeffery added: “I’m not running against you. I want to keep you. I will run when I’m ready.”
Coun. Jack Charlebois then spoke up, saying he too was “proud of being on this council.” He then proceeded to read what he said was a quote of McKay’s (from The Free Press) to the effect that his fellow Ward 2 councillor was “not proud” to be a member of council.
McKay responded by saying he hoped the council table would not be used for political issues and suggested Charlebois had taken his comments out of context.
(McKay actually told The Free Press: “It’s no secret that this Council had to go for therapy’ to try and become better behaved. Poor Council behaviour does not help Midland. I am part of Council and I am not proud of that fact.”)
Downer said nothing during the exchange.
Ironically, the election issue was raised just minutes after council by a vote of 7-2 passed into law a new procedural bylaw which, among other things, sets out the following code of conduct for council members:
No individual shall:
* use offensive words or unparliamentary language in or against the Council or against any members, staff or guest;
* disturb another, or the Council, staff, or guest by any disorderly conduct disconcerting to the speaker;
* speak on any subject other than the subject in debate;
* resist the rules of Council or disobey the decisions of the Mayor or Presiding Officer or of Council on questions of order or practice or upon the interpretation of the rules of Council;
* interrupt the member who has the floor except to raise a point of order; address Council in debate without recognition by the Mayor or Presiding Officer;
* speak for more than a total of ten minutes upon the matter under discussion except with the consent of the Mayor;
* speak more than once to the same question, without leave of the Mayor, except in explanation of a material part of their speech which may have been interpreted incorrectly, and in doing so, the member is not to introduce a new matter;
* engage in debate that is not germane to the issue or subject being discussed.
Before the race for mayor was raised, Downer had reported that earlier in the day county council voted to revoke the Site 41 certificate of approval. He said he hoped the dump site would be returned to agricultural zoning. He told council he had moved that it be sold back to Tiny Township, but his motion was defeated. “I’ll take another stab at it,” he said.
Coun. Judy Contin congratulated Downer and Deputy Mayor Ruth Hackney for their roles in helping stop Site 41, as did the other members of council, including McKay.
Coun. Stephan Kramp also mentioned that Steve Ogden deserved recognition for his role in opposing the landfill, while Coun. Pat File said credit should also go the the Aboriginal women and farmers who were involved in the battle.
The mayor said now that the matter is settled he would like to see the Stop Site 41 signs come down.