KEARNEY – Regardless of the outcome a contentious resolution from Friday night’s council meeting Mayor Paul Tomlinson says he isn’t handing over his Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal.
There is confusion over whether a resolution concerning ownership of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal was carried or defeated from the March 15 meeting after Tomlinson realized he had inadvertently carried a resolution requesting that the medal be imparted to the Town should have been defeated.
However, regardless of the resolution’s outcome, he intends to keep the medal.
He says in discussions with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the organization that put the nomination through to the Diamond Jubilee committee, there was no suggestion about what he should do with the medal.
Tomlinson says when he received the medal in early February he asked the clerk if she knew anything about the package. She did not, it had just arrived in the mail. He then asked Coun. Yvonne Wills, as deputy mayor, if she would present it to him. She refused. They then announced receipt of the medal later during the February meeting.
“I recognize that whatever successes this council has had is not solely as a result of my efforts, but I never had a chance to ever accept the medal, nor acknowledge the support that I had received during this term of council,” he said. “I was in complete shock.”
He notes that council had no part in the nominations, it was done by the FCM and jubilee committee of the Governor General’s office.
“I believe that any resolution that council passes with respect to that medal is invalid because it does not fall within their jurisdiction,” he said. “That’s the crux of it.”
Tomlinson believes this resolution may give Kearney “the distinct honour, if you would call it that, of trying to direct how their head of council should (utilize) the medal.”
Tomlinson is not the only mayor in the Almaguin region to receive medals nominated by the Federation including Whitestone mayor Chris Armstrong, Burk’s Falls reeve Cathy Still and Chisholm mayor Leo Jobin.
The confusion over the resolution stems from Tomlinson erroneously marking it as carried. It wasn’t until he was driving home from the Friday night council meeting that he realized the resolution should have been defeated. It had met with a tie vote and, in the event of a tie, was defeated.
It was not a recorded vote.
According to the resolution, Federation president Karen Leibovici clarified the reason behind Kearney receiving the Queen’s Jubilee Medal.
“FCM could not nominate any groups or organizations for the Medal. The nomination was limited only to individuals. As a result, the Head of Council, who represents the council, the staff, and the community as a whole, was nominated by FCM to honour the great work being done by everyone in your great community. When FCM nominated your community’s Head of Council to the Governor General’s office, we provided the following reason for doing so: ‘For contributions by you, your council, and your staff to Canadian’s prosperity and quality of life; and for your municipality’s support of FCM, or strong communities and good government for all Canadians.’”
The resolution put forward by Coun. Ken Ball, who was not in attendance at the Mar. 15 meeting, requested the medal be housed in the display cabinet in the Kearney Community Centre with a notation stating, “The Queen’s Jubilee Medal presented to Mayor Tomlinson on behalf of the Town of Kearney ‘For contributions by you, your council, and your staff to Canadian’s prosperity and quality of life and for your municipality’s support of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, of strong communities and good government for all Canadians.”
However, when Tomlinson received the package containing the medal back in early February, none of this was clarified and it was clear to Tomlinson that the medal was awarded to him. The package contained the medal as well as a letter from the Governor General of Canada and a certificate presenting the Diamond Jubilee Medal to “his worship Paul Tomlinson.”
Tomlinson says he sent out an email on Friday night after the March 15 council meeting realizing his error that the resolution had marked carried when it should have been defeated.
“That matter is under dispute right now,” he said.
Tomlinson says if the resolution is to be reconsidered, five of the seven members of council have to agree. He says those in favour of the resolution would have difficulty finding five in favour or reconsideration, but if re-tabled, thinks it would likely pass.
At the time of the vote there were only six council representatives present when the resolution was inadvertently carries.
“I strongly suspect that if the resolution was reconsidered it would likely pass,” he said. “There would be seven members of council present and I know councillor Ball, since he actually tabled the resolution, is likely in favour of it.”