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.
© Photo by Terry Roberts/The Compass
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:
- Deputy Mayor George Butt Jr. could have assumed the position of mayor for the duration of the term, until 2017;
- Deputy Mayor Butt would assume the chair temporarily until an election could be called;
- 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.