Threatened to become a ‘lame duck’, the council’s time is running out for new spending

The lame duck rules will take effect next month if fewer than 18 members do not seek re-election to any council office on the Oct. 24 citywide vote.

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Wednesday’s council meeting matters more if the number of members confirming their departure from the council triggers “lame duck” rules.

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While the council is scheduled to make decisions on additional Stage 2 O-Train spending, a tax-exempt program for development at Ottawa International Airport, and a strategy to protect the city from the impacts of climate change , the members might also be thinking about their last chances. to influence municipal priorities before elections.

The lame duck rules will take effect next month if fewer than 18 members do not seek re-election to any council office on the Oct. 24 citywide vote.

Ontario Municipal Law rules restrict some of the council’s ability to manage municipal money and workforce if three-quarters of the council do not return.

The municipal election ballot will be final at 2 pm on August 19. Council hopefuls must register by then, and those who have already done so have until that deadline to withdraw. Only then will the city know for sure if it is entering a lame duck period.

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There is no council meeting scheduled between Thursday and August 19, and the city council will take the traditional summer break from the legislative agenda.

It means Wednesday’s meeting could be the last chance for council members to make spending changes on the fly before they become useless.

So far, seven of the 24 council members have publicly said they will not run again.

Mayor Jim Watson, Barrhaven County. Jan Harder, Knoxdale-Merivale County. Keith Egli, Gloucester-Southgate County. Diane Deans, Rideau-Vanier County. Mathieu Fleury, Alta Vista County. Jean Cloutier and Rideau-Goulbourn County. Scott Moffatt has said that he will not seek re-election.

All other councilors have registered for the election except College Conde. Rick Chiarelli and West Carleton-March Coun. Eli-El-Chantiry.

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Chiarelli has said he “hopes” to run for re-election, while El-Chantiry, as of Sunday, had not decided whether to seek another term.

Somerset County. Catherine McKenney is running for mayor.

Although the number of districts increases by one in the 2022 election, it is not factored into the calculation to determine a lame duck council.

There are four council actions restricted by lame duck provisions under provincial law.

A lame duck council may not: appoint or remove a municipal official (secretary, treasurer, or auditor general); hiring or firing a municipal employee normally subject to council approval; dispose of real or personal property of the municipality valued at more than $50,000; and spend or incur a liability of more than $50,000.

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With the threat of a lame duck council looming, members are likely to review their files this week to make sure neighborhood projects are properly funded, especially ahead of an election. For members who are leaving the city council, it could be the last chance to find money for a legacy project that is not yet funded by the annual budget.

It would not be unusual to see several motions on the agenda at the end of the meeting.

A second risk of the council going dumb occurs on election day, but the same rules apply. If fewer than 18 council members return to city hall, the lame duck rules take effect.

However, a post-election lame duck period in 2022 would be shorter compared to previous election years. It would last until the council’s new term begins on November 15; in previous election years, new terms began on December 1.

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