While the election is still months away, and the likelihood of Mayor Mike Bernier leaving is still only a possibility, many councillors say that they are considering taking a run at the mayor’s seat.
In fact, more sitting councillors have said they are considering running for the mayor spot than those who have not.
Councillors Duncan Malkinson, Cheryl Shuman, Terry McFadyen, and Charlie Parslow all told the Dawson Creek Daily News that they are considering a run for mayor, but have yet to throw their hats into the ring.
Shaely Wilbur and Sue Kenny have said definitively that they will not be seeking the mayor’s spot.
Currently, Mayor Mike Bernier is seeking to become the MLA for Peace River South.
The governance of the city will change because of the election. Bernier will continue to fill his duties as mayor, but when the election is officially called next April, he will take a leave of absence to run for MLA.
“After the election if I’m successful I will resign my duties as mayor to focus my duties as MLA,” he said earlier.
Councillors would then rotate the position of mayor for the summer and fall.
Bernier said that city staff had determined that the election campaign in the summer, with a formal election in the fall.
While the election is still nearly half a year away, many councillors have expressed their consideration, but no one has firmly committed to seeking the position.
One of them is Charlie Parslow.
Parslow said that members of the community have asked him in the past whether he would run for the mayor position, but that he has still not made up yet.
“I’m not saying I would and I’m not saying I wouldn’t,” he added. “I think to think about that quite frankly is premature.”
The decision would have to wait if Bernier is elected MLA, he added.
“It’s an opportunity to serve my community in a different capacity,” he said. Parslow indicated that he would have to talk to “key people” within the community before any decision could be made, and part of it would involve discussing the issue further with people.
Parslow hoped to unite a community that he considered to have many different factions within them.
“We have a whole range of issues (in Dawson Creek)… and I want to bring the community together rather than move in factions,” he said.
Parslow believed that a mayor, and the city’s public representative, could have the power to do that.
Another possible contender is Terry McFadyen, a two-term councillor.
McFadyen said that he has still not consulted about the issue with his family about whether or not he would decide to run.
“I think having two terms would give me the experience (to be mayor),” he added.
McFadyen said that he would like to become mayor to continue the work he has already done to reduce the city’s debt, amongst other issues.
The third contender is Duncan Malkinson, who when he was elected in 2011 was considered the youngest elected councillor in the city’s history at 18.
“I love the work that I’m doing right now, whether it’s time to serve in an even greater capacity I’m not certain yet,” he said.
However, he admitted that the decision would have to wait.
“It’s certainly too early to know for certain. At the time of the nomination you just have to ask yourself, ‘Have I done a good job? Do I have more to contribute?’ You have to ask yourself, ‘Is it time for me to serve in a greater capacity?’ Then if the answer’s yes to all three of those, you can go ahead.”
Cheryl Shuman, when asked about whether or not she would run for the MLA position as an NDP candidate, said earlier that she would consider going into the mayoral by-election if Bernier were to be elected, but that was not guaranteed.
However, she could not be reached Tuesday about whether or not she is still considering the spot.
Wilbur, one of two councillors who definitively ruled out a run at the mayor position, said that she was “quite comfortable” in her current role as councillor.
However, the mayoral seat will only become vacant if Bernier gathers more votes than Conservative MLA candidate Kurt Peats, independent candidate Tyrel Pohl, and any other candidates who may put their name in before the election.
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