I have no problems with what happened at Monday night at the Milton Council meeting. Going in, Brian Penman was one of my top three with Mike Cluett, and Mike Boughton. I didn’t think either Cluett or Boughton would get it; Boughton was running out of his area- he’s a former Ward 2 councillor. Cluett is already a member of council for Ward 6; if he won, it would trigger a similar process to what happened last night. Watching the Councillors’ faces Monday; one time through that process was more than enough. It was pretty clear, they didn’t want to do it again.
The other option was to hold a by-election. This would happen following a 90-day campaign, which, would end in May. It would be a total of six months from the time they declared the seat vacant to the time the winning candidate would take their seat on council. Isn’t it more important to have representation for group that arguably has been underrepresented for three years?
Calling the process ‘undemocratic,’ and trying to paint it as the death of democracy is overdramatic. Democracy is messy, and so was this process. 25 people got their chance to step up and speak their piece to the decision makers without the noise, and mess that accompanies an election campaign. That is just as much a part of democracy as voting.
There were some talented, well-spoken people up for the role who spoke out on causes close to their hearts, and what they want for the future. I think Penman is a good compromise; he brings the knowledge and experience necessary to take over mid/late stream. And it satisfies democracy to an extent that Penman came in second the election. If you have to appoint someone short-term, then why not go with the second place person?
Good luck to Councillor Penman, it’s going to be a tough year. I’m positive I’ll see the rest of you around at some point this year.