In all likelihood, John Grant will be the next mayor of Brock Township.
Members of council voted unanimously to start the process of appointing Grant — a longtime township politician — during a special session on Monday (March 7) afternoon, an abrupt change of course following their previous decision to hold a by-election to fill the vacant mayoral seat.
The impending departure of Clerk Becky Jamieson, who recently accepted a role with the Township of Scugog, prompted members of council to scrap the by-election.
The motion to appoint Grant was brought to the table by Ward 4 Councillor Cria Pettingill and Ward 1 Councillor Mike Jubb following little discussion in open session. A closed-session earlier in the morning stretched for close to an hour.
Both Coun. Jubb and Coun. Pettingill said that Grant’s political experience made him the primary candidate for appointment.
“The votes were very close,” Coun. Jubb said of the 2018 municipal election, in which Grant finished as runner-up.
“Previous to that, he was the mayor of the township,” added Coun. Pettingill.
While many councillors continued to state that by-election was their preferred option, they could not overlook the staffing issues presented by Jamieson’s upcoming absence.
”It’s much more efficient and uncomplicated to appoint John Grant to the mayor’s seat,” said Ward 5 Councillor Lynn Campbell.
As members of council could potentially run for mayor – and any potential vacancies after that — as many as three seats could need to be filled through a by-election.
While Ward 2 Councillor Claire Doble and Ward 3 Councillor Walter Schummer said they favoured an open call for candidates, both ultimately voted in support of appointing Grant.
Regional Councillor Ted Smith said he reached out to Grant over the weekend to confirm that he was interested in serving.
Staff will now formally follow up and confirm his eligibility to hold the seat.
A motion to formalize his appointment is expected to be discussed at a special session of council next week.