Council sworn in; Tassone speaks to goals
A newly-elected city council was sworn in at council’s regular meeting Dec. 1.
Incumbent mayor Lawrence Chernoff and incumbent councillors Kevin Chernoff, Dan Rye, Florio Vassilakakis, Susan Heaton-Sherstobitoff, and Deb McIntosh, as well as newcomer Bruno Tassone, were sworn in during an official ceremony conducted by Judge Ronald Fabrro at the Community Forum Monday evening.
Mayor Chernoff thanked a large assembled crowd for the community’s continued support, and Deb McIntosh led the rest of council in thanking exiting councillor Gord Turner for his many years of service to the community.
“I think this shows we have the support of the community, and is based on listening to the community,” Chernoff said, adding that he welcomes newcomer Tassone. He said he was surprised at winning the mayoral seat by such a wide margin (1,486 to opponent Gord Zaitsoff’s 832).
Meanwhile, Tassone topped the polls with 1,346 votes (compared to Rye with 1,324, McIntosh with 1,314, Heaton-Sherstobitoff with 1,248, Vassilakakis with 1,248 and Kevin Chernoff with 1,186).
When asked if he felt his strong lead was the result of significant union support, Tassone said he thought his union affiliation may have been a factor, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.
“I think they’re looking for transparency and being honest with the electorate,” he said, adding, “It’s going to be interesting, obviously, being on the other side of the fence. I know there is a perception that I’m in it for a vendetta – I don’t do anything unless I have the facts. I like to dig into things, get my facts straight, and go from there. This is going to be all new territory for me.”
When asked if his long-term membership in, and leadership of, CUPE 2262 would force him to recuse himself from any union-related votes, Tassone said time will tell.
“I’m going to say ‘no’ right now, but I don’t know yet – I haven’t looked into that yet.”
He did say, though, that he’d be paying a close eye to infrastructure issues, as well as trying to get to the bottom of BC Ambulance Services staffing disparities between Castlegar and communities such as Nelson and Trail.
From a list of 5,783 voters, 2,356 voted in the Nov. 15 election (that’s a 39.74-per-cent turnout), the highest percentage Castlegar has seen since the 2002 election which saw a turnout of 48.4 per cent. The previous general civic election, held in 2011 only drew 30.6 per cent of voters.