We received this letter in regard to the decision by Council tomorrow on how to proceed with filling the late Deputy Mayor John Levi’s seat.
Hello Council of Mississippi Mills,
I’m writing to share some of my thoughts about Council’s upcoming decision in regards to which process to use to fill the Deputy Mayor position. My points for you to please consider:
1. Councillors can’t hold grudges. They make decisions, as much as possible, based on facts and to serve the widest-possible community – not emotionally-based decisions.
2. Something to note: Neither John Levi, nor Jane Torrance won the majority of votes cast to become Deputy Mayor. More people voted against John Levi than for him. Jane Torrance got the second most votes – and as with John Levi, more people voted against her than for her. These outcomes show that our municipality is divided – as we know – yet those two people won many more votes than any others.
3. Council has been in office just over two months. It has only been just over three and a half months since the election. If Council were to make a non-emotional decision and one that would cost the least for taxpayers, it would be to appoint Jane Torrance.
4. Meanwhile, I realize that our community has divided opinions and that a number of the new Councillors’ supporters do not support Jane Torrance – although a large part of the community (who are also your constituents) do. That said, I think Council would divide the community further if Council was to appoint Jane Torrance OR ANY OTHER PERSON.
5. The last Council used the interview method to appoint Amanda Pulker-Mok as the replacement Councillor for Bernard Cameron. Bernard’s tragic murder happened nearly a year and a half after he was elected. This appointment method of filling his seat was divisive within the municipality, although, contrary to what is suggested in the latest PRATAC newsletter, the interview process was carried out fairly and transparently, with the outcome / appointment determined by the process. I will not attempt to give explanations for why past Council chose the interview method to fill the vacant position, but there were serious considerations that went into that choice (as there are for Council’s choice of process this term). The facts that the Deputy Mayor carries more responsibility than a regular Councillor, and that a Deputy Mayor is elected by the entire municipality, not just by one ward, are a couple of important considerations for current Council.
6. All that said, I believe that emotion and pressure from PRATAC-leaning constituents will likely play some (perhaps minor, perhaps major) role in Council’s choice of process to fill the Deputy Mayor chair. This seems to be an unavoidable reality. What can be avoided is more division within our municipality as the result of the vacancy.
7. I believe a by-election to fill the Deputy Mayor position is the best choice at this time. There is no justification for any group of constituents to contest the winner of a by-election. I believe that is why it is being done in Ottawa. Also, if Mississippi Mills Council chooses a by-election as the preferred process, it will be made clearer to everyone that our new Council is serious about fair and transparent representation for all constituents.
Very best regards,