DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Concluding a year-long experiment that saw councillors rotate through the position of Deputy Mayor, councillors recently voted to install Ward 4 Councillor Willie Popp in the position for the rest of the term.
Councillors made the move official in a vote at their meeting on Monday, November 18th. For much of the past year, Councillor Popp had been serving as the mayor’s alternate in case of emergency. Ward 3 Councillor Bruce Garrod will continue to serve as the township’s alternate at Regional Council meetings.
Mayor Dave Barton pushed to make the move to Popp as Deputy Mayor permanent, but was met with opposition from Regional Councillor Gord Highet, who argued for more transparency in the process. “Last council we heard from residents looking for more transparency, not only in how we replace the mayor but also in the process of how we move people through the system by creating an accountable, transparent and basically standardized system for appointing people to these positions.”
“I would ask for staff to come forward with a report that speaks to that, as well as what other municipalities are doing. Are they following prescribed procedures? And if so, is that something we could do here in Uxbridge?”
Instead, Highet – the longest serving member of council, having first been elected in 2006 – proposed that the measure be tabled, and brought back up following a staff report outlining a clear and set system for the appointment of the Deputy Mayor. However, the measure was defeated 5-2 in a recorded vote.