With Mayor Robert Quaiff accepting the Bay of Quinte Ontario Liberal nomination, councillors will be looking at the process to declare an acting mayor this week.
Quaiff told the Gazette earlier this month that he would carry out his duties as mayor until the election is called in early May 2018. He would then take a leave of absence during the 28-day campaign period during which an acting mayor would fill the position. If successful, Quaiff said, he would resign as mayor. If not, he would return for the remainder of the term.
The Municipal Act says a member of the Legislative Assembly is not eligible to hold office as a member of council. Under section 259 (1) (a) of the act, the office of a member of council of a municipality becomes vacant if the member is disqualified from holding office.
A report to be presented to councillors at Thursday’s committee-of-the-whole meeting outlines the process for filling the vacancy.
In terms of a temporary vacancy, the mayor has the authority to assign or delegate his duties to any councillor “according to such terms and conditions as the mayor may define.” If Quaiff is elected as MPP, council would have to declare the mayor’s seat vacant at the next council meeting.
Section 65 of the Municipal Act indicates no by-election can be held after March 31 in an election year. However, council can appoint a person who has consented to accept the office. The report says that person can be a current member of council, the next in line from the previous election, a previous member of council, or staff could be directed to immediately advertise for interested parties to fill the role.
If council elects to fill the mayor’s vacancy by appointing a current member of council, that councillor’s seat would become vacant. A similar process would then be used to fill the vacant councillor seat.
Committee of the whole meets at 1 p.m. in the council chamber at Shire Hall.