Deputy mayor dilemma

They voted twice, via secret ballot, but the result was the same.

In a rare evening session Oct. 9, Region of Queens Municipality (RQM) council was deadlocked on who should become our next deputy mayor. Four votes were cast in favour of Milton councillor Jack Fancy and four votes were cast in favour of Liverpool councillor Heather Kelly.

With no resolution in sight after two rounds of balloting, the matter was deferred to the next meeting of council on Oct. 23.

While a deputy mayor does not have many day-to-day responsibilities, he or she does play an important role in the local governance structure. First and foremost, the next RQM deputy mayor will assume leadership in cases where Mayor David Dagley is absent or otherwise unable to fulfill his duties. The deputy mayor will also be entrusted with certain financial and legal signing authorities on behalf of council.

Having a deputy mayor is not optional. Quite the contrary, all Nova Scotia municipalities are required to have one under the Municipal Government Act.

In Queens, the deputy mayor serves for a two-year term. Elected to the position by council Nov. 8, 2016, councillor Susan MacLeod’s tenure is coming to an end in a few weeks. So who should replace her, Fancy or Kelly?

Based on what I’ve seen from my perch in council chambers, they are both steadfast representatives for their electoral districts. And, much to my liking, neither of them is afraid to ask tough questions or cast dissenting votes.

It could be argued that Fancy, with more experience on council, is a better and more logical choice for deputy mayor. But the argument could also be made that Kelly, a possible mayoral candidate in 2020, would benefit more from serving in the role.

I won’t try to predict the outcome of this one, nor will I offer an endorsement of one candidate over the other.

I’m happy to sit back and watch with interest, knowing we’ll be well-served by either person.