In a move that surprised many observers, Tantramar Mayor Andrew Black prevented council from electing a deputy mayor at its first meeting on Tuesday.
“We have just sat as the new council of the Town of Tantramar,” Black said.
“We have not had an opportunity to interact with one another. I would like us to be able to know each other and have an understanding of who we are as councillors and as council, before we make the decision of who would be the deputy mayor,” he added.
Black was responding to a motion from Councillor Debbie Wiggins-Colwell who sought to add the election of deputy mayor to Tuesday’s council agenda.
She pointed out that the bylaw governing council procedures requires it to elect a deputy mayor at its first meeting.
However, changing the agenda requires unanimous approval, and after all other councillors had voted to change it, Black asked clerk Donna Beal: “Do I vote as well?”
In the past, Sackville mayors have voted only to break council ties, but the new procedural bylaw imposed by the province allows the mayor to vote on every issue.
“I will vote nay,” Black declared defeating the motion to add the election of deputy mayor to council’s agenda.
However, he told reporters later, that he’s uncomfortable with the bylaw that gives the mayor a vote and would rather provide information and guidance.
“Voting on an issue I think, it’s just not me, it’s just not what I would want to do,” he said.
Black added, however, that it will be up to council to change the bylaw.
“I might have my own ideas about what I would like to see,” he said, “but if council passes the bylaw saying that the mayor should vote, then so be it.”
Black said the election of a deputy mayor could take place at council’s next meeting later this month.