By Stephen Dafoe
Legal – Tuesday night’s organizational meeting of Legal Town Council took an interesting turn when Deputy Mayor Ken Baril nominated first-term Councillor Lisa Magera as mayor. The nomination was seconded by Mayor Albert St. Jean himself and Magera was declared mayor by acclamation.
Although most municipalities elect councillors and mayors separately, Legal has special dispensation from the province of Alberta to elect five councillors and have those councillors elect their mayor from within.
“I just want to thank everyone for supporting me while I was mayor,” St. Jean said after Magera’s election. “It’s been awesome.” The three-term mayor said he would have been glad to continue serving the community if he were not moving outside the community.
The Municipal government Act (MGA) requires councillors to reside in the community they are a member of council in. St. Jean is currently building a home in Sturgeon County and the former mayor said his new home is scheduled to be completed in six months, at which time he would be forced by the MGA to step down. Magera expressed her appreciation to St. Jean for stepping down at the Town’s organizational meeting allowing her the remainder of St. Jean’s time on council to assist her as she learns the new role.
After taking the oath of office, Magera’s first duty as Legal’s new mayor was to swear in Deputy Mayor Ken Baril, who was also elected by acclamation. Magera also made her first proclamation as mayor, proclaiming November senior’s Falls Prevention Month.
The annual organizational meeting provided the new mayor and her council an opportunity to decide what committees the councillors would sit on for the coming year.
Mayor’s departure regretted by council
After Tuesday night’s meeting former Mayor St. Jean said his family has been involved in Legal since 1949 and he would have completed his third term as Legal’s mayor if not for his move. “I stated to council quite a while ago that before I have to leave I would hand it off so I could help that person like Jim did with me,” St. Jean said, adding the organizational meeting seemed the right time to do it.
St. Jean spoke highly of his successor, praising her work with Fête au Village and her ability to run a meeting.
As for Legal’s new mayor, Magera said she was excited to have the position. “It’ll be a learning curve, but I am also thankful that Albert [St. Jean] will still be here for a few months.”