Thursday, May 16, 2013

Councillor Rice just one of many to make the jump to provincial politics

Putting aside the oversight by the CBC in NOT listing her among the other ten municipal politicians that have been elected to the Legislature on Tuesday, Councillor Jennifer Rice will have an interesting club to join when she arrives in Victoria.

In a chamber of 85 members, 11 of the new class of 2013 will have made the migration from municipal office with this election, a change on the resume that will leave their various communities on the hook for a by election to fill that now vacant seat.

The nature of Ms. Rice's campaign while a member of council became a bit of a controversy in the early going, but that theme seemed to fade as the election campaign moved into the more active phase of the last month.

There has been some thought in the past, that she might be able to hold both jobs until her Council term comes to an end, but that would seem to be an unwise idea.

Considering the many challenges facing Prince Rupert, having a councillor that can devote all of his or her time to local issues, would most likely be the preference of Prince Rupert residents.

Of the ten other municipal politicians, a few have already indicated that they will be giving up their municipal seats, while others are still giving some thought as to what they will do, now that they've found success at the provincial election.

As the CBC outlines it's an expensive prospect to replace one member with a by election process, a situation that could require some creative thinking  to help defray the cost of continuity.

In Penticton, Mayor Dan Ashton who won a seat in Victoria for the Liberals, has offered to cover the cost of the by election in his community.

A solution that Langley Mayor Peter Fassbender, who also succeeded in his provincial quest, isn't particularly inclined to do, in fact, if anything he sounds a tad annoyed at his Penticton compatriots gesture.
Where Councillor Rice, now the MLA elect for the North Coast is on the whole theme remains to be seen.

As for the Council seat, should it become vacant, perhaps an option could be to go back to the last election count of 2011 and ask the last candidate at the cut off of six, if he is willing to serve the remainder of this Council session.

In this case that would be Rob Vallee who trailed Judy Carlick-Pearson by 141 votes on election day on November 19th of 2011.

We're not sure whether that's a workable solution within the Community Charter, or if Rupertites are more inclined and dedicated to have another chance to cast a ballot this year.

Maybe Council will just decide to go forward with but five members in the Chamber upon Ms. Rice's depature.

But with another trip to the municipal polls not set until 2014, a city that is looking to work smarter and save money wherever it can, might just wish to use the 2011 election results as a short list of applicants.

Asking Mr. Vallee if he is willing to step in and serve out Councillor Rice's term, could provide a short term  and fiscally sensible solution, to what could for the City be a very expensive farewell to the new MLA elect.

Update: A helpful reader to our blog, with some knowledge of Municipal governance, made contact by way of our email address to set us straight on Municipal succession. Providing an advisory that our fanciful project to save money isn't allowed under the Community Charter.

So, at some point we imagine we'll let democracy rule and cast a ballot for a replacement, or not...

Note: Since our original posting of the article, the CBC has adjusted their roll call of the migrating municipals, though they did send us a nice little note of thanks.

It's always enjoyable, when those on the Internet when can all work together.

Along the theme of the future for the Councillor, The Northern View has offered up some thoughts on Councillor Rice's options, posting an article to their website.

June 5-- N View-- This gentleman prefers brunettes
June 5-- N View-- Mayor, councillors question if Rice can be councillor and MLA-elect

May 22-- N View-- Now is the time for Rice to step down
May 17-- N View-- Prince Rupert Councillor, MLA-elect addresses dual positions

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