CFN – Councilor Glen Grant ate his Wheaties Monday night at council as even he, one of the longest tenured councilors was boggled by the stunt pulled by a sub-committee in changing City By-law 2010-93 which would allow the Mayor/Council to fill a vacancy on council by appointment instead of as is clearly stated in the bylaw passed in 2010; less than two years later!
Council will say one thing in meeting, but what’s on the page are the actual laws. After a series of bizarre emails and calls to Mayor Kilger and Clerk Denise Gelinas Labelle this is what has been pieced together.
Audio from Council Monday April 9th (after the 6 minute mark)
Now that’s a very very clear by law. If a seat need be filled at council you go to the next with the most votes. Here are the results from 2010.
So according to the 2010 bylaw, very clearly, Gerry Samson should be taking Councilor O’Shaughnessy’s seat. If for some reason Gerry can’t or isn’t available you work you way down to Pat Finnerty at the bottom.
Why? Because we don’t live in China or Russia…yet. We live in a Democracy and these are the people that put their names forward for public office in the 2010 election. They paid their fees, stood to public scrutiny and had their names on the ballot.
Fill the vacancy by appointing a person who has consented to accept the office if appointed; or
Freaking mind boggling! What’s been essentially done is that with some clever cut and paste this committee has clearly changed the intent of the term above to be directed to those who “did not” put their names forward for office instead of those who have. No wonder Councilor Grant was confused?
We don’t have elections so that we can grab that guy with the great smile who buys someone drinks can be appointed and circumvent the Democratic process of an election?
While working on this story the big question was whether this flim flam jam was a canard; ie not about Gerry Samson replacing Leslie O’Shaughnessy, but about Mark A MacDonald replacing Mayor Kilger if he had to step down; a very possible scenario considering Mr. Kilger’s age and health issues. (Stomach Cancer recovery)
By passing this new by law, again, less than 3 years after the last change, the verbiage clearly leaves open the door for an appointment instead of succession as is clearly stated in the current by-law from 2010 at the emergency meeting Monday to decide the fate of the open council seat.
Several City Hall insiders have suggested that the Mayor was looking to step down and take better care of his health with the goal of appointing Councilor Clement to finish his term which would be in violation of the 2010 by-law.
However one of the few offices Councilor Clement did not run for from 2009-2012 was that of Mayor of the City of Cornwall and the two people that did lose to Mayor Kilger were Mr. MacDonald and Nicole Spahich.
This of course arouses many questions?
Why was this by law changed in only a few years?
Who requested it? Why was this committee so secret?
Why the obfustication by the City Clerk to local media?
Why the cloak and dagger?
What do council have against those that legitimately put their names up for office?
Does Council think they know better than the electorate?
Is this sort of Gerrymandering of Democracy even legal? Speaking with one of Mayor Kilger’s team today, when asked if he’s ready for an appointment to council; clearly stated that he felt that the old policy should be in effect; IE those voted for should gain access to open seats. However he did not categorically rule out the possibility of accepting such seat if he were asked by the Mayor and Council to fill it.
It seems the Mayor and some of council, and the Clerk of over 30 years service may have missed reading this fascinating page from the Government of Ontario and the responsibilities and roles of Municipal Council and staff?? LINK
We will be updating as more info unfolds and we suggest that concerned residents contact City Hall and be present for the Council meeting that is to take place at 4PM Monday April 16 in the Council Chambers or Gong Show as referred to by many.
Maybe Pat Finnerty was right????
What do you think Cornwallites? You can post your comments below.