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Split Decision

by Olivia Rutt and Jaime Myslik

Mayor’s alternate at county council

Too many questions

Starting Jan. 1, mayors will be able to send an alternate to attend county council meetings. This is one of many recent changes to the Municipal Act. 

Only one member can be appointed for the full four-year term. Municipalities need to decide how to fill this role, which normally is filled by a deputy mayor (where there is one).

This change brings so many unanswered questions. The first is how are they going to vote? Is the delegate voting on behalf of the mayor? What happens if the mayor and the delegate do not see eye-to-eye on issues?

If the delegate votes opposite to what the mayor would, can the mayor then seek to reconsider the motion? How complicated would that process be?

The alternate seems only to be available mayors and not ward county councillors. If this process aims to make sure a municipality is not underrepresented, then why isn’t the delegate available to county councillors as well?

What is most worrisome is that the delegate will be allowed to vote on issues where most of the background and discussion has happened at the committee level. Or are the stand-ins permitted at committees as well? There are just too many unanswered questions.

There should be policies put in place at the county and municipal levels to clarify the position and how the delegate is chosen.

– Olivia


It’s about time

As a result of recent changes to Ontario’s Municipal Act mayors who can’t attend Wellington County council meetings will be permitted to send a delegate in their place.

But there’s a catch: there must be a specified delegate for the full four-year term.

I say it’s about time.

On county council each area within Wellington basically has two representatives: their municipal mayor as well as their elected county councillor.

While both are charged with voting and speaking on behalf of their constituents, the mayoral representation has an added function. Not only do they represent their municipality, they are also the spokesperson for the goings-on at the county level for their home council.

If the respective mayor isn’t present, lower-tier municipalities would likely be left in the dark about what’s going on at the county.

Some might suggest “maybe our elected county councillors will show up and make a presentation at the lower-tier municipality” - but we’d be waiting a while for that. Seldom do they make it out to lower tier meetings and even then it’s usually for a specific reason.

That leaves the mayor - and now their delegate - as the main voice to share county news with the rest of their home council.

 Come Jan. 1, lower tier municipalities will be provided a greater  opportunity to stay informed.

– Jaime

Vol 50 Issue 50


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