Grey County council rejected concerns raised by The Blue Mountains Mayor Alar Soever about the language in the county’s lame duck bylaw.
County council at its meeting on June 23 passed a bylaw that delegates authority to CAO Kim Wingrove under the lame duck provisions of the Municipal Act. A municipal council enters a lame duck situation if, after nomination day (August 19) and voting day (October 24), it can be determined that the new council will include fewer than three-quarters of the members of the outgoing council.
Lame duck councils have limitations on certain actions they can take including the appointment or removal from office of any officer of the municipality, the hiring or dismissal of any employee of the municipality, the sale of any property of the municipality with a value exceeding $50,000 and making any expenditure which exceeds $50,000.
It is standard practice for councils across the province to pass bylaws delegating those authorities to senior staff members during lame duck period.
Soever raised a concern that only the CAO was being given the lame duck authority, which he considered unusual.
“I’m not sure why one person would want to take that on,” said Soever, who suggested the county use language in the bylaw similar to what the Town of Hanover has used, which delegates the authority to two people.
Soever also was concerned about a provision in the bylaw that requires the CAO to report any use of the authority to the new council within six months of the term beginning. Soever said he felt any actions taken under the bylaw should be reported to the new council immediately.
Soever’s suggested changes found little support around the council table and the bylaw passed with only Soever, The Blue Mountains Deputy Mayor Peter Bordignon and Grey Highlands Mayor Paul McQueen opposed.