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Posted: May 2, 2017

What happens to council if mayor wins election?

By Carol Gordon

e-KNOW news

Are you wondering what happens to the District of Invermere council if Mayor Gerry Taft gets elected MLA for Columbia River-Revelstoke in the B.C. Election on May 9?

Does an acting mayor get put in place? Does the district just ride it out until the next election without a mayor? Is a by-election held? I asked these questions to Chris Prosser, Chief Administrative Officer of the District of Invermere.

District of Invermere Mayor Gerry Taft

Carol – What happens to council if Gerry Taft is elected MLA in the BC Election next week?

Chris – “It all depends on when he decides to resign. In some instances, and I’m just using examples because we’ve never had to deal with it before, a member of council has held on as long as possible until Legislature was called back and then they resign. Some have resigned before the election, some have resigned immediately after, if they’ve won, some have waited until the very last minute.

“Typically what happens, from the date that he puts in his resignation, we have 80 days to have a by-election date. That’s where the timing is kind of key for us because we want to try and keep it out of the summer. We’d hate to try and have an election during July and August. We just don’t think we’d have a very good turnout.”

Carol – Is there a law that determines, when Gerry would have to resign by?

Chris – “It doesn’t say he has to by a certain time. It’s based upon when he has to be sworn in. Typically when they have to be sworn in, that’s when a lot will resign.

Carol – Would an acting mayor be appointed?

Chris – “There are only certain times when you can appoint an acting mayor until the end of the term, and the end of the term is up October 2018. So typically the province will require an election if there is a certain amount of time before the next election. Sometimes they will let you have some latitude if you get into January 2 or 3 of 2018, to just go with an acting mayor, even other members of council, but in 2017 we’re going to for sure have to have a by-election (if Gerry wins the election).”

Carol – Have you ever had one before?

Chris – We have never had a by-election before.

When posing the question to Gerry Taft regarding his thoughts on when he would resign his position as Mayor, if he wins the election next week, here is his response:

“If I win on May 9, then I would like to have a discussion with the rest of council about timelines. I know in the last provincial election there were people who served on municipal councils and who were elected as MLAs, and these folks did a variety of things, some resigned right before they were sworn in, at least one stayed on for a number of months.

“My gut feeling is that resigning immediately and triggering a summer election would not be in the best interest of the District of Invermere, existing council members, or residents. I think a September or early October election is likely better timing, so I would work with DOI staff and council to work backwards from a preferred election date to figure out the ideal resignation date.”

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