By Mike Williscraft
It took a “surprise” amendment initiated by Coun. Dave Sharpe and a motion to restructure how council would vote, but five Grimsby councillors managed to alter the joint fire services terms of reference to keep Mayor Jeff Jordan from having an automatic spot on the committee.
The motion before council Sept. 7 was to have mayors, plus two members of council and CAOs for both Grimsby and Lincoln be voting members on the committee.
When the dust settled, it was adjusted to read three members of council could be voted in, with CAOs taking part but as non-voting members.
This opened the door for five members of council, which included Coun. John Dunstall who missed the two-hour committee-of-the-whole meeting that preceded the council session, but called in by phone to be able to cast key votes to carry several 5-4 votes with Councillors Ritchie, Sharpe, Dave Kadwell and Randy Vaine also supporting the change.
There was a great deal of cross talk, shouting down and too many Points of Order to count – a sight all too familiar for Grimsby residents.
Both Sharpe’s and Ritchie’s motions were prepared as they were read into the record.
While Ritchie reminded members of council the changes introduced did not preclude the mayor from getting voted onto the committee and that the mayor has no special standing – the position is just one vote on council – others noted past conduct of council would ensure he did not get voted on.
Coun. Lianne Vardy noted both mayors – who are the only town-wide elected officials on council, should be voting members on such an important committee.
Aside from that, both Councillors Dorothy Bothwell and Reg Freake reiterated their concern the venture was being initiated with zero prior cost/benefit analysis – both calling it still premature.
A motion to defer to wait on a Fire Master Plan and third party audit was voted down 5-4.
Both Lincoln Chief Greg Hudson and Grimsby Acting Chief Bill Thomson said strategic thinkers are what was needed on the committee.
Ritchie, Sharpe and Kadwell were voted in 5-4 only after Ritchie introduced special restrictions on how the vote would be conducted. This was also approved 5-4.