Nominations open for vacant council seat

This article, from October 2, has information and details on the nomination process to fill the recently vacated Ward 5 council seat.

John-Paul Danko Ward 8 Hamilton City Councillor

Hello Ward 8 Neighbours,

With a seat to fill in Ward 5, the nomination process has now opened for all eligible Hamilton voters interested in applying to replace Chad Collins as Ward 5 councillor.

For more details, please continue reading below…

Any eligible Hamilton voter has until Oct. 29 to apply to apply for the position of Ward 5 councillor, a position to be held until 2022’s municipal election.

Council recently voted on September 29 to fill the vacancy by appointment rather than a byelection, which would be estimated to cost around $190,000. A byelection would not be held until March 7 – and the next municipal election is scheduled for October 24, 2022.

In the last ten years, council has appointed replacements to fill vacant seats. It appointed former mayor Bob Morrow when Ward 3 Councillor Bernie Morelli passed in 2014, and in Ward 7 when Donna Skelly left in 2018. Those previous terms of council did not invite candidates to apply, selecting instead from their own private list.

Ward 8 Councillor John-Paul Danko told the Hamilton News there will be no secrecy this time because candidates will make presentations and councillors will vote for their choice in public session, holding run-off votes if need be until a candidate wins majority support.

“It’s not going to be, ‘We’re going to go into camera and then send up a puff of smoke from the roof,’” Danko said. “It’s a public debate, there will be discussion if necessary, and the vote will be a public process.”

Councillor Danko also shared the following on Twitter (thread unrolled here):

#HamOnt Council will appoint a replacement to fill Councillor Collin’s now vacant Ward 5 seat for the remainder of the term.

Here is a link to the specific procedure that will be used to appoint an interim Councillor to fill the vacancy: pub-hamilton.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ash…

Having been on three sides of this issue (running in a by-election due to a vacant seat, being the runner-up when a Council seat is vacated & being elected in a general election) – the following is my thought process that lead to my support for proceeding with appointment: 1. Council is obligated to declare Councillor Collin’s seat vacant and must either:

a) fill the seat by appointment
…or
b) hold a by-election 2. My preference would be a by-election.

However, in this circumstance the City Clerk advised that a new Councillor elected in a by-election would not be able to take office until March 20, 2022

See timeline tables page 4/5: pub-hamilton.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ash…

While preferable, a by-election would be directly following a federal election, in the winter, during COVID.

This would also be an open race – which tends to attract a large number of candidates – coupled with low voter turnout. Having run a by-election campaign in the winter with 22 candidates and a margin of victory of 92 votes…this is not ideal.

In my opinion, filling this seat as part of a full general election may be preferable for these reasons. If Council is to appoint an interim Councillor to fill the vacant Ward 5 seat, my primary concern is that it is an open and transparent process.

I believe that the procedure proposed by staff and approved by Council is as transparent as possible. Section 5 states that notice of the vacancy will be published publicly along with a request for applications, an outline of requirements and details on the application process. Section 6 states the application procedure and requirements for eligibility.

Any member of the public who is an eligible voter in Hamilton is able to apply to fill the seat.

There are no requirements for past political experience or experience in a similar position required.

It is important to note that the Ward 5 runner-up in the 2018 general election may apply to fill the vacancy.

Having finished 92 votes short in the 2016 by-election, I have previously advocated for the runner up to be appointed when the seat was subsequently vacated. Section 7 and Section 8 outline the selection process and voting procedure.

Of critical importance: this will be a public debate and public vote to select the successful candidate from the pool of eligible applicants. While each Councillor will be free to vote according to their own preferences, my vote will be weighted on the following:

A promise that the successful candidate will not run in the 2022 general election (unless the 2018 runner up is selected) & community involvement in Ward 5

Ward 5, whose boundaries were realigned in 2018 to include downtown Stoney Creek, covers the area below the escarpment between the Red Hill Valley and Gray Road in Stoney Creek, as well as the beach strip up to the Burlington Canal.

Individuals interested in applying for the position are invited to submit the following in person to the Clerk at the Clerk’s counter on the first floor of Hamilton City Hall (71 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4Y5):

  • A Signed Nomination Form – Form 1
  • Endorsement of Nomination – Form 2
  • Resume/CV (not to exceed 3 pages, including cover letter)
  • A Freedom of Information (FOI) and Statement of Intention Form

All forms are available electronically at hamilton.ca/ward5vacancy or for pick up at the Clerk’s Counter.

Applications close on Friday, October 29, 2021 at 2 p.m.

For questions about the process or vacancy, please contact the Office of the Clerk via email at elections@hamilton.ca.

Questions or concerns?

If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact our office here.