Council will continue to appoint regional chair

York Regional Council has voted against the direct election of the regional chair, which means it will maintain the status quo and appoint the position.

At a February 27 Council meeting, Newmarket Mayor John Taylor moved a motion to directly elect the regional chair by an at-large election. Council deferred the motion to October.

While Council must review the number of members on council that represent the lower-tier municipalities this term and following every second regular election, there’s no requirement to review the method of selecting the head of council or any other member of council.

Section 4 of the Region’s Procedural Bylaw sets out the process for appointing the regional chair, which must be confirmed by vote at the inaugural meeting of Regional Council. The regional chair has been appointed by members of Regional Council since York was established in 1971. Similar motions were defeated by Council in 2012 and 2016.

Among other things, the regional chair is responsible for opening and presiding over regional council meetings and may vote on issues in the event of a tie, and acts as a member of the York Regional Police Services Board and CEO of the York Region Rapid Transit Board. The regional chair also acts as the primary spokesperson on public issues and is York’s representative both within and outside the municipality.

Chairman Wayne Emmerson was first elected by a majority of regional councillors in December 2014 and is currently serving his second term as Chief Executive Officer for York Region.

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