Posted by auroracitizen on November 3, 2010
The recount was approved last night — as only Morris and MacEachern could manage a meeting.
To start — the meeting took 1 hour and 45 minutes to discuss and vote for a foregone conclusion. All the members played their appointed roles.
First Granger was required to declare a conflict of interest because if he were to win, he would financially benefit. Of course, Phyllis felt obligated to ask Mr Cooper if this was appropriate — to which he replied that each member of Council was required to make this determination and he was not in a position to advise. After the years of experience that Mayor Morris has — one would expect that she would know this by now.
Then Councillor MacEachern — ever interested in her image as the defender of openness and transparency — asked why the special meeting did not have a section for Open Forum so residents could provide input. She insisted that the procedural bylaw be waived so the public would have their opportunity for input. Once the bylaw was waived to allow the public to speak — guess what?
Rebecca Beaton (friend of Cllr MacEachern) just happened to have prepared notes to comment from (which apparently she offered to share with the press after the meeting).
Walter Mastranerio (yet another friend of Cllr MacEachern) was also prepared with a question.
Both questions were in relation to the accuracy of the tabulation machines.
Then the Mayor and Councillors Gaertner, MacEachern and Wilson proceeded to grill Mr Leach with their concerns about the accuracy of the tabulation machines.
Anyone else see where this is going?
Mind you this was all done — contrary to the Procedural By-law — without any motion on the floor. But then we have come to expect 2 things under the leadership of outgoing Mayor Morris;
- procedure/rules are a convenience only to be used when to their advantage, and
- why ask questions of staff in advance when you have the opportunity to grill them in front of your colleagues to show just how smart you are. Of course, remember, staff are governed by professional conduct that does not allow them to respond as you or I might want to respond.
Cllr Buck finally having seen enough of Mr Leach browbeat and answer the same questions repeated in different ways, stated the questions “appeared to her” to be orchestrated. Which immediately led to a Point of Order from Cllr MacEachern with a demand for an apology. When Councillor Buck refused on the grounds that she was entitled to make an observation of what it “appeared” to her, Mayor Morris demanded she leave the table. Cllr Buck graciously declined.
This lead to Mayor Morris calling a recess and demanding that the entire audience clear the chambers.
The result of this demand from Mayor Morris was actual laughter from the audience — who all seemed to know she had absolutely no authority to order such a thing. It was another comical highlight in the tragedy unfolding before us.
Once the meeting got back underway, with Cllr Buck in her chair — and no apology — the Council finally made a motion. Cllr Collins-Mrakas pointed out that the motion was illegal since Council was trying to direct the manner in which the recount was conducted which is contrary to the Municipal Act. Upon question by Mayor Morris — Mr Cooper confirmed that Cllr Collins-Mrakas was correct and the motion had to be replaced.
Then Cllr MacEachern tried her best to get a motion on the floor that allowed the candidate to review each and every ballot “before” it was placed in the voting machine — effectively turning the machine recount into a hand count — since only an approved ballot would be counted by the machines.
Now everyone saw where things were going
Again the issue of Council directing the manner of the recount was questioned. Plus, the Municipal Act states that a new manner of recounting from the original count requires a judicial review and that is why Council is forbidden from meddling. But that didn’t stop them from trying.
In the end, MacEachern finally backed off — since it was clear that Mr Leach and Cooper were prepared to stick to their guns on this issue — and if the vote was not conducted in accordance with the rules as specified by the Municipal Act, then there would have been basis for a judicial review by any candidate.
Once the vote was called the final tally was;
- Yea: Morris, MacEachern, Gaertner, Gallo and Wilson
- No: Buck, Collins-Mrakas
Of note, through the entire meeting Cllr Gallo did not utter 1 word other than to vote in the recorded vote. Hopefully this was reflection of his aversion to the behaviour of his colleagues. We have high expectations for Mr Gallo this term since his place at the table is due to election — not selection.
Finally, 1 hour and 45 minutes later, we have Council direction for a recount — which must be completed within 15 days according to the Municipal Act. This means it should be completed before the inauguration.