Brigus eliminates separate ballot for mayor
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.