Judicial review required to fill vacant seat at Tehkummah council table

TEHKUMMAH—With just days left under the Municipal Act to find a method to choose the council seat left vacant with the August 27 resignation of Tehkummah councillor Laird Lee, the council is no further ahead, despite its best efforts.

In September, a motion was put forward to fill the vacant seat “by appointing a person who has consented to accept the office in the order of results from the previous election, beginning with the next highest ballot count.” Reeve Eric Russell and Councillor Lorie Leeson voted for this option with councillors Paul Bowerman and Ron Hierons voting against it. The motion was defeated.

At the November 7 council meeting, Councillor Bowerman requested that the motion be reconsidered and his vote changed in the affirmative due to the amount of “harassment” he’s been receiving from his constituents.

Only those who voted against the motion, councillors Bowerman and Hierons, are able to reverse their votes but Councillor Bowerman needed a mover and a seconder, of which there were none as the reeve and Councillor Leeson could not vote and Councillor Hierons did not change his vote. The motion was, therefore, dead on the table.

“We’re damned if we do,” Councillor Leeson said. “It doesn’t make any sense.”

“I’m sorry Dorothy Cronk,” Councillor Bowerman said.

Clerk-Treasurer Karen Gerrard explained to reeve and council that their next steps are to go before a judge and ask for a judicial review of the matter. Council can still proceed with the municipality’s business as usual.