Councilor Lynette Helgeland was chosen as the new President of the Hamilton City Council last week. Councilor Jenny West, who has served as President for the last three years, was in the running as was Councilor Nancy Joy Valk. Valk has als
o served as President of the Council in the past. Councilor Al Mitchell was also nominated, but respectfully declined.
The first round of voting by secret ballot resulted in a three to three tie between Helgeland and Valk. It would take three rounds of voting before that deadlock would be broken.
Valk told the Council that being President was about making sure that the meetings remain calm and orderly. She noted that she had experience in that regard. She also stated that it was also very important to give the public the chance to speak and to let all sides be heard equally.
Helgeland said that she was in agreement with Valk. She said that the current Council was working well together. She said there was disagreement on some issues but that the Council debated the issues in an appropriate manner.
“Letting the public speak is a major concern,” said Helgeland. She said that she was interested in exploring ways to encourage more public participation. She said that both West and Valk had performed well as Council President.
“I would like the opportunity to do what these other two women whom I respect have done,” concluded Helgeland.
The Council gave her the chance as she was elected President by a four to two vote on the third round.