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Councillor - Town of Blue Mountains

Blog/Councillor Gamble’s Absence

I think everyone knows or should know by now that Councillor Bob Gamble was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at the Owen Sound Regional Hospital for pneumonia and “flu’ near the end of January, 2015. His situation was considered quite grave at the time but he has been slowly recovering over the past month and half and resting comfortably at home.

So what’s my point? Will he make a full recovery and be the same “Bob’ before his unfortunate illness? Bob is in his late 70’s and has been known to have a history of health issues. When and will Bob return to Council?

So what’s my point? If anyone on Council needs Bob’s support the most, it’s me.  Bob was always a champion of fairness and serving the needs and expectations of the general electorate. During my 6 years as President of the Blue Mountain Ratepayers’ Association, Bob always spoke out against the majority of Council on issues of expensive wants rather than more conservative needs. However, and I witnessed on many occasions, he was basically ‘shunt’ aside as the ‘black sheep’ and his ‘no’ vote was generally ignored.

So what’s my point? When and will  Bob return to Council? Last night, Council authorized the absence of Councillor Gamble from meetings of Council. The Municipal Act allows for a three month hiatus and then the seat becomes vacant unless authorized by Council. By my calculations, this would allow Bob to remain away until about April 30th, 2015. So I asked the question “what happens after April 30th, 2015?” Mayor McKean remarked “nothing and that he can remain away indefinitely’. I asked again “does this mean 6 months, one year, two years etc.” and Mayor just nodded his head saying yes.

So what’s my point? Is this being responsible to the electorate? Is this proactive governance – operating an elected Council short-handed for an unspecified time? I’m not trying to push Bob Gamble out the door. I truly have lots of respect for the man. My preference is see him rest and get well rather than him rush back in his role as a ‘black sheep’. By the way, I can feel the ‘political maneuvering around me” and can identify with his frustration over the past 6 years.

So here’s my point. I voted against the motion, as written in the Agenda, to ‘authorize the absence of Councillor Gamble’ in accordance with the Act. Councillor Halos made sure that the whole world knows by calling for a recorded vote. So, is it wrong to consider the health of my fellow councillor first? Bob is the type that will rush back knowing that we are waiting and keeping his position open forever. In my opinion, by rushing back, his health will be further compromised.  Shouldn’t we be sending a different signal – get well Bob, rest and enjoy your retirement from office?

Or……….maybe I should be considering my absence!