Windsor - August 26, 2013 - Tonight, Windsor City Council will debate how to fill the vacant Ward Seven seat as a result of the departure of Councillor Percy Hatfield. Hatfield was recently elected to Queen’s Park as an NDP member in the provincial by-election in Windsor-Tecumseh.
Mayor Eddie Francis and his colleagues will have three choices in terms of dealing with the vacant seat – 1) appoint someone, 2) award it to the highest finisher from the last election or 3) hold a by-election.
Having served three terms on Cornwall City Council, I feel strongly that there really is only one choice in this debate. Council should appoint Angelo Marignani who came in second with 28% of the vote in 2010. In Cornwall we ran and were elected "at large" and regardless of this difference, I was always a proponent of going to the next on the list when dealing with a vacancy. In fact, I introduced a motion and this policy was add to Council's Procedural By-Law at the time.
A by-election is a costly proposition, particularly considering that there is just over a year left in the current term of Ontario municipal councils. In this fiscally challenged environment, I can’t imagine that this is even a possibility for Council.
Each of the remaining Councillors and Mayor Francis, earned the privilege to serve their community by a vote of the electorate in 2010. Back then, the people spoke and this current group was elected. Why would Council ignore the voice of the people and arbitrarily appoint someone?
I heard on AM 800 this morning that Ward Nine Councillor Hillary Payne is leaning toward giving the seat to the runner-up and once again, I agree with the councillor’s judgement.
It would be a mistake for Council to appoint a “chosen-one” from a self-derived list. It would be a waste of money to have a by-election. Appointing Marignani is the wisest choice for Windsor City Council.