Mark Clairmont |

HUNTSVILLETown councillors here, including the acting mayor and a reported rival councillor for the top job, have voted on controversial plan to allow the council to pick its next mayor.

At a town council meeting Monday, Nov. 25, 2019, they chose to fill the vacant seat of mayor and will be appointing a current member of council.

So says a town release.

They directed the municipal clerk to solicit notice in writing from members of council to fill the vacancy, and that the names be considered at a council meeting to be held on Dec. 17, 2019 at 9 a.m.

The mayor’s chair was declared vacant Nov. 12 when Scott Aitchison resigned after winning the federal election as the new member of Parliament for Parry Sound–Muskoka.

Acting Mayor Karin Terziano and Coun. Tim Whithey have both publicly expressed interests in running.

Terziano, who didn’t speak on the motion, voted in favour; while Whithey who did speak against it and another councillor voted to oppose the motion, in the 6-2 final vote.

Council had considered a by-election to finish off the four-year term, which began after the Oct. 22, 2018 provincial municipal election, won by Aitchison.

Debate over the heated controversial issue the past few weeks centred in part on the undefined cost of a by-election and the appropriateness and optics of an internal vote.

Which, if the result of Monday’s vote is any indication, the decision in three weeks may be moot, anyway.

The move comes just weeks after the province abandoned a plan to look at a possible merger of smaller regional and district governments.

And the Ford government had earlier backed off on announced public voting on the district chair’s position in the 2018 local elections.

Acting Mayor Karin Terziano, who voted to appoint a councillor to fill Scott Aitchison’s seat, had said before Monday’s vote that she will run for the top job.

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