Ward 6 variables considered
Narrowing 31 candidates to one Ward 6 councillor came with many variables Monday.
Appointing Steve Trotter for the remainder of the 2014-18 term of office came down to experience, residency and ability for Barrie councillors – although just by one vote against Lynn Strachan.
Coun. Doug Shipley, who preferred holding a byelection, said he looked for experience.
“It is, and we know this, a very tough job,” he said of being a city councillor. “I know a lot of people in the public don’t agree with that or know about it, but it is a tough job. And when you’re new to it, it takes a fairly decent learning curve.
“I’ve heard many councillors talk about a year, 12 months, as a learning curve. Well, that’s pretty much all they have left on this job. So it’s going to be very, very tough to make an appointment of someone who doesn’t have some experience,” said Shipley, who voted for Strachan – a Barrie councillor from 2003-14.
Coun. Bonnie Ainsworth also said experience matters, but wasn’t most important.
“I am a stickler. I very much think it’s necessary. I support actually someone that lives in the ward, so that really narrowed it down for me,” she said, before supporting Trotter, a Ward 6 resident and a 1994-2006 councillor.
Coun. Sergio Morales took a different tact.
“It really is the assets you bring to the (council) table,” he said. “I’m looking for someone who has experience in the city, maybe on council ... and can do the best job there.”
Morales voted for Trotter on the second ballot.
Coun. Barry Ward said virtually everything matters – from experience and residency to each candidate’s resume and how they addressed council Monday.
It all adds up to ability to do the job.
“It is a steep learning curve. We have a very short time before this term is up,” said Ward, who voted for Trotter.
Coun. Mike McCann, who supported Trotter on the second ballot, said he would vote with his gut for the new Ward 6 councillor.
“I’m looking for a leader, looking for someone with life experiences,” he said. “I’m not looking for someone who necessarily lives in the ward. I think that this late in the game that doesn’t necessarily mean as (much) to me as it would be at the beginning (of an election campaign).
“I’m looking for somebody that will be able to (hit) the ground running,” McCann said.
Coun. Arif Khan said he separated the idea of a byelection from an appointment to council.
“I believe that our responsibility ... is to appoint the most competent, capable, qualified individual, and that’s quite different from a byelection – where your constituents will choose you,” he said, before voting for Strachan on the second ballot.
Coun. Andrew Prince said he looked at it like hiring the manager of a large corporation.
“I do think experience comes in many different forms, and although I agree you should live in the area, I don’t think living in the ward is a prerequisite,” said Prince, who voted for Strachan in the second ballot.
Mayor Jeff Lehman said Trotter, who got his vote, will have his hands full in Ward 6.
“I take the point experience comes in many forms, it comes from many places,” he said. “What we will have to balance is what experience can most usefully be put to the task at hand, which is to pick up the ball from an incredibly able ward councillor (Michael Prowse, now Barrie CAO) over the years, in a ward that is incredibly busy, one that has many planning applications, lots of local issues, and needs to be represented around the table.”
Councillors thanked everyone who let their name stand for the Ward 6 appointment and spoke at Monday’s meeting.
“Because we are where we are, we have 10 months to go before (2018 city election) nomination day,” he said. “For the 30 who won’t be chosen tonight, you have 10 months.
“I hope you will consider public service.”