Mayor Rob Ford says he's disappointed that an appointment will be used to fill a vacancy on city council, instead of giving residents a chance to choose their representative.
Members at Toronto City Hall gathered for a special meeting on Monday to decide what to do about the vacancy left by the departure of Doug Holyday, who was recently elected to the provincial legislature.
While Ford had been pushing for a byelection, council voted 22-11 in favour of appointing a new councillor in Ward 3 Etobicoke Centre.
"Council obviously didn't listen to what the people want in Ward 3 and it's political — they don't want me campaigning," Ford said, following the Monday vote.
The mayor suggested the vote was indicative of a trend that has seen council go against the grain of public opinion.
"We have to start listening to what the taxpayers want in this city and this council does not do that," Ford said.
Move will save money
Avoiding the byelection will save the city $225,000, though Ford has said the expenditure amounts to "the price of democracy."
The results of the vote run counter to a non-binding city policy that requires a byelection if a council vacancy occurs before Nov. 30 of the year preceding a regular election.
However, councillors voting in favour of an appointment argued that a byelection is not worth the cost because the new councillor will be in office only about a year before the next municipal election, which is set for October 2014.
Coun. Glenn DeBaeremaeker, who supported the appointment option, said council's decision will save taxpayers money.
"What we've done today is the same as what we've done for the last decade, which is save taxpayers' money by giving a quick appointment," he said.
Both Fords favoured byelection
However Coun. Doug Ford said having council appoint a candidate takes the decision out of local voters' hands.
"I’m guessing over 80 per cent of the people of Ward 3 wanted to elect their own representative," he told CBC News.
The Etobicoke Centre seat was made vacant when Holyday, who served as Ford's deputy mayor, won a byelection in the provincial riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore on Aug. 1.
Some councillors were concerned that the councillor appointed to Ward 3 will have an incumbent's advantage should he or she decide to run in 2014. The city's solicitor confirmed that council has no legal mechanism to prevent the appointed councillor from running in 2014.
For those interested in throwing their hat in the ring for consideration as the next councillor in Ward 3, candidates must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- The candidate must hold Canadian citizenship.
- The candidate must be at least 18 years old.
- The candidate must be a Toronto resident, or own or rent property in the city. A candidate could also be the spouse of a person who owns or rents property here.
- The candidate must not be prohibited from voting or holding municipal office.
Anyone eligible to vote can put their name forward for appointment in Ward 3. Etobicoke York Community Council, composed of councillors from the area, will select their preferred candidate at an Oct. 3 meeting.
City council will then make its final decision at an Oct. 10 meeting.
At that meeting candidates will make a short speech and councillors will then vote on their choice using a round-by-round runoff system similar to ones used in party leadership races. The bottom candidate drops off the ballot after each round until one candidate achieves a majority.
The vote will not take place in camera, so how each councillor votes will be recorded and made public.
How they voted
The graphic below shows how each councillor voted on the motion to opt for appointing a councillor to serve in Ward 3 until the 2014 general election.
Note: Doug Holyday is no longer a member of council. For the purposes of this graphic, he is listed here as absent.
Also note: Coun. Frances Nunziata is marked as abstaining in this graphic because she declared a conflict prior to Monday's debate. Her brother John may seek the appointment in Ward 3.