Mayor or reeve debate off the table

By The Morinville News Staff

Sturgeon County – Council lifted the mayor vs. reeve discussion off the table at its Apr. 10 meeting. The motion, originally presented by Councillor Joe Milligan, had been tabled for 30 days at the Mar. 13 meeting.

After Council voted 6-1 in favour of reopening the discussion, Councillor Milligan clarified his original intent. “It’s not a decision to do it or not to do it, just to look into it,” Milligan said. “Everybody I’ve talked to has their thoughts on it and most of them are positive.”

Discussion during the Apr. 10 meeting altered Milligan’s original motion which had suggested a reeve would be selected from seven councillors elected to represent seven electoral divisions. The new motion, approved with a 6-1 vote of Council will have Administration look into the timing and costs of adopting “a governance system which chooses a reeve from within their ranks of the elected councillors.” As such, no limitations are placed on just how many councillors would comprise a subsequent iteration of Sturgeon County Council.

Councillor Karen Shaw said she hoped any future discussion would delve into the pros and cons of both systems. “I am hoping if we do go down this path that we’re going to get input on both sides of the argument,” Shaw said. “I can see merits in both.”

Shaw asked if the mayor vs. reeve debate is similar to the Edmonton City Centre Airport debate in that the voters made a decision and now there is talk of reopening the discussion. Sturgeon County had gone to the public some years ago when it was considering changing to a mayor and council system.

Regardless of what direction Sturgeon County goes in the future, Mayor Rigney said he sees the current discussion as a two-stage project: finding out what it would take to go to a reeve system and determining if that is what will be done.

Councillor Don McGeachy cast the only opposing vote on the motion to have Administration investigate the reeve system and report back to Council.

Under the Municipal Government Act, any decision to go to a reeve system would have to be made 180 days prior to the next municipal election.

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