Friday, January 24, 2014

Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday, January 24, 2014

Could former mayor Morrow fill Ward 3 vacancy?

(By Andrew Dreschel) Hamilton councillors are considering appointing former mayor Bob Morrow to replace Ward 3 Councillor Bernie Morelli, who died last week.

Morrow, Hamilton’s longest serving mayor, declined to comment until more time has passed.

“I think I would rather remember Bernie at this time.”

But Councillor Sam Merulla says he’s privately broached the subject with Morrow, who seems open to the idea as long as the decision is undivided and without squabbling.

According to Merulla, he and Councillor Tom Jackson are quietly trying to build unanimous support. Merulla has also raised the prospect with Morelli’s family.

“Based on my preliminary discussions with family members, they’re very happy about the idea and look forward to it coming to fruition.”

Under provincial legislation council must declare Morelli’s office vacant no later than Feb. 12 and then decide within 60 days to appoint a replacement or call a byelection.

In the case of a byelection, city election manager Tony Fallis says a nomination day for candidates to register must be set no more than 60 days after the race is called. Election day would then be 45 days after nomination day.

That means if council were to opt for a byelection at its Feb. 12 meeting, nomination day would be April 14 and election day May 29.

Given that a full municipal election is on Oct. 27, Councillor Terry Whitehead says councillors are leaning to appointing for the sake of candidates and Ward 3’s 40,000 residents.

Whitehead argues it wouldn’t be fair to saddle candidates with the cost of two elections — “which could be $20,000 each” — within five months. (Continued: Hamilton Spectator)