It was only weeks ago that Don Valley East Councillor Shelley Carroll announced she would take on Rob Ford in any byelection that might come should the courts decide Mayor Ford should be thrown out of office.
But in the days leading up to Christmas, Carroll said council should think carefully about what happens with the vacant mayor’s seat in that event and possibly not hold one at all.
“I spent a lot of time at the Scarborough Town Centre last weekend,” said Carroll, “and there and everywhere I go, when people come up to me and say you’re councillor Carroll, when they get into the byelection question, they say it’s a lot of money, isn’t it? And it’s 2013 coming up, and when’s the real election? People say that 2014 isn’t that far away.”
Carroll said she’s been hearing from members of the public that council should really forgo holding a byelection next year, which could cost as much as $9 million, and opt to make an appointment to fill any vacancy in the mayor’s office.
That vacancy could occur as early as January. Mayor Ford is appealing a conviction under the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, that orders him to be removed from office. Under the original conviction, Ford would have the option of attempting to win back his seat, and he could also be reappointed by council if council opts against a byelection.
Council will have 60 days after the office is vacated to decide which way to go.
Carroll has been openly considering a run for mayor in 2014 – the next regularly scheduled election – and in early December, she told reporters she would absolutely face down Rob Ford and any other contenders in a byelection, should that be necessary.
Public opinion polls, however, have not given Carroll, who was budget chief under Mayor David Miller, great hope. She has consistently trailed other candidates including Ford with most recent numbers showing she would only garner 16 per cent of the vote.
She said early polling data wasn’t what prompted her new skepticism about holding a byelection.
“David Miller was a guy who six months before the election (in 2003), if he walked into a room of 100 people he could be sure that two people knew him,” she said. “The most recent polls say that there are 16 people who know who I am.”