Hamilton city councillors have voted in favour of appointing an experienced replacement for Ward 5 (Redhill area) Coun. Chad Collins who is now the federal MP for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek following his federal election win.
Councillors voted to go with the appointment process over a byelection after Mayor Fred Eisenberger made that case saying the timeline between a potential run to the polls in the new year and the close proximity of the next civic election in October 2022 didn’t justify such an effort.
“By the time we work through a process for a byelection, as indicated, we’ll probably be well into March and then we’re into silly season already,” Eisenberger told councillors.
“So I’m not seeing a lot of value in kind of having an expensive, prolonged, protracted process.”
Councillors Brad Clark, Judi Partridge and Maria Pearson were quick to agree with the suggestion due to the proximity of an upcoming complicated budget process and likelihood of voter fatigue with the recent federal election.
“So it can be tiresome for the voters to the point where they won’t come out and vote,” Pearson said.
“I believe that with it being such a short time that we need somebody, as Coun. Partridge mentioned, possibly a previous retired councilor who is very familiar with the process of working with staff.”
City clerk Andrea Holland clarified a recent staff report for Ward 8 Coun. John-Paul Danko’s queries about the logistics of a byelection, saying it could be months before staff could secure vendors, acquire staff, technology and public health approvals for a vote.
Eisenberger suggested the recruiting process should involve a candidate with previous experience particularly an individual who’s been in office.
“You know, obviously everyone might have a desire to be appointed, but the reality is that we have to pick someone that can step into the role and provide effective representation because they have the talent, the know-how, the experience to be able to do that quickly,” Eisenberger said.
The appointment will be made at a special council meeting on Nov. 12 with the new member taking on the post Nov. 24.
Councillors also voted to replace Collins on the police services board with Ward 2 Downtown councillor Jason Farr.