In their first meeting of the new term, Inuvik’s new councillors made Inuvik town council history by electing to split the roles of deputy mayor and assistant deputy mayor between two councillors each.
The move came after council came to a tie vote for both positions.
Coun. Steve Baryluk and Coun. Paul MacDonald will split the role of deputy mayor, each serving 18 months of the three-year term. Coun. Gary McBride and Coun. Dez Loreen will do the same for the assistant deputy mayor role.
Councillors at the meeting nominated the candidates for deputy mayor and assistant deputy mayor. Councillors and Mayor Natasha Kulikowski then voted by secret ballot.
Following the tie vote, there was some discussion about what the next step was because the town’s bylaws did not outline what to do in the event of a tie vote.
It was Coun. MacDonald’s idea to split the positions.
“I knew it was going to be a close vote, but I didn’t think it would be that close! I think it was a surprise to all of us,” said MacDonald. “I thought the tie vote indicated that council has faith in both of us to do the job. So, I thought the most amicable way forward would be to split the position.”
Council supported the suggestion.
He suggested Coun. Baryluk should act as deputy mayor for the first 18 months of the term because he has already held the role for three years.
“I suggested that Coun. Baryluk hold the position first so that I can learn from him and get some more experience on council before I take on the role,” he said.
MacDonald said splitting the positions will allow more councillors to gain experience and knowledge of different positions, and increase the overall understanding of how council works among more councillors.
Finding innovative solutions amicably
MacDonald added that he thinks the move by council to split the roles is a good example of how council can think outside the box to solve problems.
“Although we were all acclaimed and didn’t have a campaign plan, coming forward with an innovative solution to a problem is the way I would like to see council move forward with the current economics, gas and oil issues and other issues within the community,” he said. “We might need to think outside the box and this was a perfect example of how we can do that.”
He hopes council will continue to work out solutions amicably.
“We’re all there with different ideas to achieve the same goal of making Inuvik a better place to live, do business, play and visit,” he said.