Carbonear mayor to be decided through byelection

Melissa Jenkins
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Councillor seat will also open as George Butt confirms he will run for top post

At tonight’s (Dec. 2) biweekly Carbonear council meeting, the council decided to send the town back to the polls to vote for a mayor through a byelection.

George Butt Jr.

The six councillors were divided on how to approach the newly vacated mayor’s seat.

With the resignation of Sam Slade from the mayor’s chair for the position as MHA for the district of Carbonear-Harbour Grace, the council had three options to choose from to fill the empty space, according to the municipalities act:

  1. Deputy Mayor George Butt Jr. could have assumed the position of mayor for the duration of the term, until 2017;
  2. Deputy Mayor Butt would assume the chair temporarily until an election could be called;
  3. Council could elect a new mayor from the remaining councillors through secret ballot.

During a roundtable discussion, Coun. Ray Noel stated he believes the citizens of the town should elect a mayor.

Next, Coun. Frank Butt countered, saying he would like the deputy mayor step in.

“I think the deputy mayor position is a prelude to mayor if anything happens,” he explained.

Coun. Butt said he has come across many people who have been apathetic to what the council does to choose the mayor, and noted only one person has said they would like a byelection.

Coun. Bill Bowman agreed, saying he has heard both sides from constituents, but sees nothing wrong with allowing the deputy mayor the opportunity to step in. He also added George Butt received more than 1,500 votes in the municipal election, so he wouldn’t have a problem going that route.

Councillors David Kennedy and Ed Goff agreed with Noel.

Kennedy said the fact that only two months of the term has taken place, the town should head back to the polls because he believes it’s too early to not have the people decide.

Goff explained that the deputy mayor is a, “very popular fella,” but people he had spoken to said they would like to see a separate mayor’s vote.

Deputy Mayor Butt confirmed he would seek the mayor's post, so he had to step out of the meeting due to conflict of interest.

Coun. Butt made a motion for the deputy mayor to assume the chair. It was defeated, with only himself and Bowman voting in favour.

After Kennedy motioned for there to be a byelection for mayor, all councillors decided to vote in favour.

With Deputy Mayor Butt confirming he will be seeking the top post, he will have to resign his seat as acting mayor when nominations are called.

When he resigns, another call for nominations will take place to fill his position.

If any other member of council decides to take a run at the mayor’s chair, they too would have to resign their seat, and another open spot would be available on council.  

A date has not been set for the byelection, but town administrator Cynthia Davis confirmed the town has three months before it has to call one.

Melissa.jenkins@tc.tc

Geographic location: Carbonear

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Recent comments

  • Charmaine and Bill Laing
    December 04, 2013 - 22:40

    We voted for Mr. Butt in the election and so did 1500 more people in the town of Carbonear. He had enough votes to become deputy mayor and the rest of you didn't. So what is going to change with a by-election. We are very confident that Mr. George Butt can be a great Mayor for our town. If you are asking Mr. Butt to give up his seat and do it all over again. Then the rest of you should give up your seat also and then see who will run and get in again. Some of the Councillor's just scraped it to get in.

  • Charmaine and Bill Laing
    December 04, 2013 - 22:39

    We voted for Mr. Butt in the election and so did 1500 more people in the town of Carbonear. He had enough votes to become deputy mayor and the rest of you didn't. So what is going to change with a by-election. We are very confident that Mr. George Butt can be a great Mayor for our town. If you are asking Mr. Butt to give up his seat and do it all over again. Then the rest of you should give up your seat also and then see who will run and get in again. Some of the Councillor's just scraped it to get in.

  • Bob White
    December 03, 2013 - 20:33

    I think when a person earns the position as deputy mayor, he is given the responsibility to take over the mayors seat when the mayor is no longer willing or able to fulfill his mandate. Therefore I feel Mr. Butt should have the choice to remain as mayor for the duration of the term, and if so the councilor with the next highest amount of votes , should become deputy. Otherwise there is no reason to have a deputy in the first place.

  • Aggie Forward
    December 03, 2013 - 15:37

    I'm not surprised ...I agree with you Wayne 100%....Mr.Butt will get my vote...

  • Aggie Forward
    December 03, 2013 - 15:36

    I'm not surprised ...I agree with you Wayne 100%....Mr.Butt will get my vote...

  • Wayne slade
    December 03, 2013 - 06:08

    No big surprise here I knew that kennedy and goff would force a by election. Mr George butt had more votes then the mayor is the last election and as far as im concerned the people all ready spoke.

    • phyllis ferguson
      December 03, 2013 - 19:52

      I agree with wayne slade !!!!!!!