City, district follow process after vacancy

The City of Vernon and Regional District of North Okanagan are determining how to handle the loss of a valuable member.

Coun. Patrick Nicol’s death has left a vacant seat at city hall as well as at the regional district, where he was the chairperson.

“We are researching what we are required to do and how best to proceed,” said Trafford Hall, RDNO administrator.

The possible options for the regional district are for vice-chairperson Rick Fairbairn to automatically move into the role or for the board of directors to elect a new chairperson.

It’s expected there will be a decision made at the next board meeting Feb. 5.

For the city, it’s likely there won’t be a byelection to fill Nicol’s seat because provincial legislation does not require a byelection after Jan. 1 in an election year (this November).

The other factor that was considered is that city council still has a sufficient quorum of elected officials, which means that business can continue.

“We still have six members on council. We will run on six until November,” said Patti Bridal, Vernon’s manager of corporate services.

However, that will mean council members will have to be careful about time away from city hall, such as vacations or even being ill.

“They have to be conscientious of who else is going to be away,” said Bridal, adding that as long as four council members are present, a quorum exists.

It was also decided not to hold a byelection because legislative requirements mean there would not be a vote until sometime in the spring, which would only leave about six months until the November election.

Council is expected to ratify the decision not to hold a byelection at its Jan. 27 meeting.


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