By-election to replace Robinson
Coun. Jennifer Robinson
Ward 8 residents in Barrie are likely going to the polls on Dec. 3.
City councillors gave initial approval Monday to hold a by-election to replace Jennifer Robinson, who resigned Aug. 1 for personal health reasons.
The decision to hold a by-election, and not appoint a replacement for Robinson, was unanimous. She served about 20 months on council of her four-year term.
If given final approval on Aug. 27, nominations would open the next day and close at 2 p.m. on Oct. 19.
The by-election would be Dec. 3 and the new Ward 8 councillor would be sworn in Dec. 17.
Coun. Alex Nuttall noted the new council member will have some immediate challenges.
"There are a number of issues that are not just ward-specific," he said. "They affect the whole city as well."
Nuttall mentioned development of the former Innisfil land and the redevelopment of the Allandale Station property.
Councillors were appointed to replace Robinson on several city committees Monday, and other council members will be picking up the slack otherwise.
"Ward 8 residents should feel comfortable approaching any of us in the interim," said Mayor Jeff Lehman.
A vacancy on council was declared Monday, according to Ontario's Municipal Act. The only time the city isn't required to fill a council vacancy is when it occurs within 90 days of the next election. Barrie votes next in 2014.
A Ward 8 by-election is estimated to cost $20,0000 to $40,000. Voter turnout in by-elections can be much lower than in city elections. The turnout was less than 20% in the 2001 by-election, while it was 40% for the 2010 Barrie election.
An appointment would have cost about $2,000, to advertise for interested candidates, but take place much quicker.
Money for a by-election will come from a city reserve fund for the 2014 municipal election. City staff say there is enough funding to cover both the by-election and the 2014 vote.
Robinson won the Ward 8 election in 2010 by 22 votes over Alison Eadie. But Eadie didn't file her complete election financial statements with the City Clerk's Office by the legislated deadline, so she's ineligible to either be appointed to office or run in another election until 2014. (This ineligibility can be over-turned in court and an individual can be allowed to file late, if there is an acceptable reason.)
This isn't the first time city council has dealt with a resignation.
Patrick Brown did it in 2006 when elected Barrie MP, with Eadie appointed to replace him for the remaining seven months of the term.
Brian Norton quit in 2001 after his Justice of the Peace appointment, and former councillor Rob Warman won the by-election.
The late Anne Black resigned in 2000 for personal reasons and Dave Aspden won the by-election.
Aileen Carroll stepped down in 1997 to become Barrie-area MP; she was replaced by former councillor Shane Mayes for about four months.
Joe Tascona resigned his seat in 1995 after being elected the Barrie-area MPP, with Carroll winning the by-election.