Former Councillor Back At South Bruce Peninsula Council Table
South Bruce Peninsula council has filled its vacant council seat, but the drama swirling around the issue continues.
Council appointed Paul McKenzie to the seat on Tuesday, voting to avoid a costly by-election with only ten months remaining in the council term.
McKenzie sat on council from 2010 until 2014, and came in fourth in the race for the three councillor seats in the 2014 municipal election, so Mayor Janice Jackson says it was only logical to offer the seat to McKenzie.
She says with so little time left in the term, it will make for an easier transition by bringing in someone who has previous experience on council.
“He’s already been there and done that and he’ll be able to hit the ground running and there won’t be any speed bumps,” said Jackson. “He’s a great guy, I had a really good time working with him for four years and I think he would actually be a perfect addition to this council.”
McKenzie is taking over for the seat formally held by Craig Gammie, who had his seat vacated in December when council declared that Gammie had missed three months of meetings, automatically triggering a clause in the Municipal Act that vacates a council seat.
Gammie was charged with assault in September after an alleged encounter with Deputy Mayor Jay Kirkland, and has been banned from town hall as part of his bail conditions.
Jackson says Gammie has applied to the courts to have the vacancy declaration quashed and for an injunction to stop council from filling his seat, but it won’t be heard until Friday in an Owen Sound courtroom.
Jackson says council followed its legal advice and were left with no other option but to declare the seat vacant.
“He is definitely challenging us, but no, we acted according to the Municipal Act, right to a ‘T’, he missed three months of meetings and you know, as soon as that happens, we’re mandated to vacate his seat,” says Jackson. “It wasn’t a choice that we had.”