Edgar waiting in wings to fill seat
Kelly Edgar is next in line to fill an empty St. Catharines regional council seat for the second time in four years.
With the election of St. Catharines Coun. Jim Bradley to Niagara Region chair on Thursday, there’s an opening for one of the six councillors representing St. Catharines.
Edgar came in seventh in the October election, just as he did in 2014 when he was appointed to fill the council seat left vacant by Alan Caslin when he became chair.
The city clerk called Edgar Thursday and asked if he is willing to fill the empty seat if that is city council’s will.
“I told her emphatically, yes I am,” he told The Standard.
Unlike in 2014, the appointment of Edgar should go a lot smoother this time around.
When Caslin’s regional council seat became up for grabs, many thought seventh-place finisher Edgar was the natural successor.
But St. Catharines city council tried to appoint St. Andrew’s ward Coun. Matt Harris to the Region to perform a dual duty role. The controversial move, splitting city council 7-6, was shot down by the province, which said it wouldn’t change the rules in the middle of a term to allow someone to hold two seats.
City council then voted to recommend Edgar be appointed by the Region to the seat.
The debacle prompted St. Andrew’s Coun. Joe Kushner to table a motion in January 2015 asking the city to adopt a policy for filling future vacancies on regional council that was consistent with the way it fills seats on city council.
That policy, now in effect, says the seventh place finisher may be appointed if he or she received 70 per cent of the votes that were gained by the sixth place finisher.
Edgar captured 85 per cent of the votes that sixth place finisher Tim Rigby got.
A report to city council on filling Bradley’s vacancy is expected on Dec. 10 or 17. Edgar said he ran for regional council because he wanted to be involved in Niagara in a positive way.