Bri­gus elim­i­nates sep­a­rate bal­lot for mayor

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERRY ROBERTS

The Town of Bri­gus will re­vert back to its tra­di­tional way of se­lect­ing a mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil when elec­tions are held Sept. 24.

The town coun­cil voted 5-1 last month to do away with the sep­a­rate bal­lot for mayor. As such, vot­ers will be asked to place an X next to the names of up to seven can­di­dates on a sin­gle bal­lot.

Those elected will then choose a mayor and deputy mayor amongst them­selves. Tra­di­tion­ally, th­ese posts have gone to can­di­dates who re­ceive the most votes, though it’s not a re­quire­ment of the Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties Act.

Mayor By­ron Rod­way was the only mem­ber of coun­cil to op­pose the mo­tion dur­ing the June 4 reg­u­lar meet­ing.

Vot­ing in favour were coun­cil­lors Lorne Youden, Greg His­cock, Faith Roberts-Pike and Roy Clarke, and deputy mayor Ralph Trick­ett.

Though such a move may seem un­usual, it will ac­tu­ally see things re­turn to the way they are usu­ally done in Bri­gus.

Since it was in­cor­po­rated in 1964, the town has of­fered a sep­a­rate bal­lot for mayor on only two oc­ca­sions — 2009 and 1990. The mayor was elected by ac­cla­ma­tion both times — Mayor Rod­way in 2008 and Dave His­cock in 1990.

Town man­ager Wayne Rose said the ar­gu­ment in favour of the mo­tion cen­tred around the town’s small pop­u­la­tion, with a vot­ers’ list of just over 600.

There’s a con­certed ef­fort provincewide to try and re­cruit can­di­dates for coun­cil, and the Bri­gus coun­cil has been op­er­at­ing with a va­cancy for a num­ber of months due to a res­ig­na­tion.

Rose said most coun­cil­lors felt a sep­a­rate bal­lot for mayor, in a small town like Bri­gus, could re­sult in the loss of a strong can­di­date if he or she chose to chal­lenge for the mayor’s chair.

But with an at-large bal­lot, this sce­nario is avoided, said Rose.

Mayor Rod­way ar­gued that the peo­ple should have the right to se­lect their mayor. He be­came mayor in Au­gust 2006 fol­low­ing the sud­den res­ig­na­tion of Charles His­cock.

Bri­gus is the sec­ond town in the Con­cep­tion Bay North to elim­i­nate the sep­a­rate mayor’s bal­lot. Clarke’s Beach made a sim­i­lar move in 2012.

Mean­while, nom­i­na­tion day for Bri­gus is Sept. 3, while an ad­vance poll will be held Sept. 21.

edi­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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