Sarnia City Council Monday September 14, 2015. Councillor Mike Kelch replaced Mayor Mike Bradley who was absent. (BlackburnNews.com Photo by Briana Carnegie)

‘Acting Mayor’ Position To Be Launched With Newly Elected City Council

Sarnia council has approved changes to the city’s procedure by-law, with one adjustment, an ‘Acting’ Mayor position will be created rather than a ‘Deputy’ Mayor position.

Councillor Anne Marie Gillis believes the title change will bring more clarity to the role.

“Yes I do, because we’ve been trying to communicate to people what were trying to do, but we haven’t been able to connect,” says Gillis. “Just taking that Deputy Mayor and showing to people that ‘Deputy’ denotes power, whereas ‘Acting’ is in itself, just what it says acting.”

Gillis says councillors do a lot to prepare for a meeting, but more prep-work is required if you’re chairing the meeting.

“It’s only fair for people to have enough time to prepare. Sometimes we’ve only had an hour. This eliminates that problem. We’ve had three people doing one meeting. This way it brings continuity and consistency for the people that are coming and making a presentation. They know who they’ll be meeting with. It also provides continuity for the staff because they know who they’ll be dealing with.”

A motion to put the question on the ballot was defeated once again.

“I’m disappointed that it didn’t go to the ballot and allow the public to voice their opinions, just as we put that question on the ward system in the 90’s and the public said ‘we don’t want a ward system,'” Mayor Mike Bradley said after the meeting. “It’s never wrong to consult the public.”

Bradley preferred that the current rotating system be maintained to chair a meeting in his absence.

“Anyone who’s on council should be able to chair a meeting and have the knowledge to chair that meeting the second they walk in this door. So, I see that as a bit of a red herring.”

The Acting Mayor position will be implemented with the new council when it forms after this years municipal election October 22.

The councillor with the most votes will serve for the first year of the term, followed by the councillor with the second and third highest number of votes in the following years.

The Acting Mayor will preside at meetings when the Mayor is absent, refuses to act or the office is vacant.

The procedure by-law passed in a recorded 5-3 vote. Mayor Bradley and councillors Dave Boushy and Andy Bruziewicz voted against it.