June 15th, 2024

Council to rotate chairperson in sync with deputy, acting mayor schedule

By COLLIN GALLANT on April 9, 2024.

The Medicine Hat city council gavel is shown in this March photo.--NEWS PHOTO

cgallant@medicinehatnews.com@CollinGallant

City councillors will rotate as chairperson at council meetings when their scheduled term as deputy mayor comes into effect.

In late March council voted to remove Mayor Linnsie Clark’s ability to chair city council meetings for a violation of the code of conduct.

At the same meeting council requested options for a schedule of chairing duties, but administrators state in a recommendation Monday that a system already exists in the deputy and acting mayor list developed as a requirement at the start of the council term in October 2021.

Under normal circumstances the deputy mayor takes over the chair of a meeting if the mayor is absent or has to recuse for a vote or discussion. If both are absent, the duty falls to the acting mayor, another rotating responsibility to handle official city business if a mayor is unavailable.

The little-known nature of the positions caused some confusion in the community since the sanctions – including barring Clark from acting as an “official spokesperson” of council” – were imposed March 21.

Coun. Allison Knodel was deputy mayor during the week of March 18, and presided over closed-session meetings with seven councillors about the complaint.

Coun. Andy McGrogan was acting mayor over the same time, and chaired the special meeting of council on March 21 when the sanctions were approved, as Knodel could only attend via video conference.

Knodel again chaired a committee of the whole meeting specific to economic development incentives and the city’s environmental roadmap on March 25.

Clark attended that meeting but took up a seat at the end of one side of the curved table.

The next switch would occur April 20, with McGrogan becoming deputy mayor and Coun. Ramona Robins acting mayor. Going forward Robins would become deputy mayor 45 days later on June 4.

If approved Monday, the News will provide a full schedule in an upcoming edition.

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