Terry Anderson appointed as temporary councillor for Ward 7
Coun. Matthew Green argues the process to appoint Anderson was undemocratic
Former alderman Terry Anderson will act as Hamilton's Ward 7 councillor until the municipal election.
The appointment came during council's final scheduled meeting before Aug. 25 — which was the deadline to fill the position or be in violation of the province's municipal act.
The ward's seat has been empty ever since former councillor Donna Skelly became the MPP for the new ward of Flamborough-Glanbrook in the last provincial election.
Council originally voted to leave the seat empty until after the election, but Steve Clark, Ontario's minister of municipal affairs, later told council that wouldn't be possible.
Twelve councillors voted in favour of swearing in Anderson, who said he's not nervous about taking on the role.
I am truly looking forward to getting back on the phones and talking with people about their issues in Ward 7.- Terry Anderson
"It's an honour and a privilege to be appointed to the position," he said. "I represented Ward 7 for nine years and it feels good to step back into it for the few months I will be there."
Anderson served as alderman for the ward from 1991 to 2000 and said although the players may have changed at city hall, his experience will help him navigate the political process and connect with constituents.
"I am truly looking forward to getting back on the phones and talking with people about their issues in Ward 7."
Ideal fit or appointing a pal?
Ward 3 Coun. Matthew Green and Ward 1 Coun. Aidan Johnson both voted against the appointment and raised questions about just how democratic the decision-making process really was.
Green, who has advocated for a public call to fill Skelly's seat since mid-July, described Anderson's new role as a the result of "backroom conversations."
"This should not be a process where we're appointing our buddies to fill a democratic seat at council," he explained after the meeting. "Democracy lost, Ward 7 lost, the idea of engagement and diversity lost."
Mayor Fred Eisenberger called Green's suggestions "ridiculous," adding Anderson had been brought up as a possible person to fill the seat at least two months ago.
"Everyone was aware this name was in the mix and no one can say they were left out of the process," he said.
With 10 years of experience in the ward, the mayor added, Anderson is an ideal fit.
"If we're going to fill it with anyone let's at least make sure it's someone who in the next few months … can actually hit the ground running."