Incumbent Mayor of Princeton Randy McLean was defeated by Fred Thomas in last month’s provincial election by a margin of 537 to 379.
From those numbers, one might assume that Thomas, a newcomer to politics, represented a change to Princeton voters who no longer wanted the status quo.
It was somewhat surprising, then, to discover at last week’s inaugural regional district board meeting, that returning councillor Frank Armitage had been selected by Princeton council to represent Princeton as director on the board. Thomas was sworn in as the alternate.
As RDOS Chief Administrative Officer Bill Newell put it, “Municipal members are appointed to the Regional District Board by their council and they serve at the pleasure of their council, meaning they can be replaced at any time.
It’s unusual, but not unknown, for a member of council to be appointed instead of the mayor.”
Additionally, the new mayor of Princeton was not selected to serve other appointments normally given to the mayor, including representation on the Similkameen Valley Planning Committee.
It is our understanding that this situation is not one stemming from mutual agreement between the mayor and council. That’s what makes it unacceptable, in our view.
The electorate made a decision for administrative change in Princeton. For council to deny the mayor even the slightest opportunity to take the appointments traditionally given that office is an insult to both the man and the electorate who have placed their faith in him.
We hope that council has a reasonable explanation for their actions, and that they will make their reasons clear to the Princeton electorate soon.