At the closing of the February 5th General Issues Committee (GIC) meeting, Hamilton city council unanimously voted that former Hamilton Mayor Bob Morrow will be appointed the serve as interim Ward 3 Councillor for the remainder of the 2010-2014 term of office.
Morrow will fill the vacancy that was left following the death of Councillor Bernie Morelli in early January of this year. Morrow was the city’s longest-serving mayor, with an 18 year term (1982-2000).
The notion was met with some criticism, especially among the other councillors. Ward 9 Councillor Brad Clark was among the critics, but said it was not the choice that he had a problem with, it was the decision making process.
Morrow’s name was revealed to the public prior to the meeting, which some councillors felt made him the only choice, simply because of public knowledge. Clark said he was disappointed and didn’t believe this was the proper way to handle the vacancy.
“Mr. Morrow may be the best person for the job,” said Clark. “But I think I’d want to ask him a few questions first. This has nothing to do with the qualifications, it’s about the process.”
Ward 10 Councillor Maria Pearson and Ward 13 Councillor Russ Powers also had issues with the procedure, but all three opposing councillors decided not to vote against the motion to avoid a rift.
“Transparency and accountability are the major issues here,” said Powers.
Ward 4 Councillor Sam Merulla first entertained the idea of appointing Morrow back in early January, and says that Morrow will not be running for election come October.
The unanimous vote is set to be confirmed on February 7th.