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City council puts Dowhan in mayor's chair


The City of Dauphin has a new mayor.
At a special meeting Dec. 6 councillors voted unanimously to appoint deputy-mayor Allen Dowhan to the position left vacant with the untimely death of Eric Irwin last week.
Under provisions of the Municipal Act, council has two options when a seat becomes open with less than one year until the next general election.
One option is to hold a byelection to fill the vacancy, while the other is to fill it from within council.
In an effort to make the transition in city operations as seamless as possible, council chose the second option, Dowhan said.
“Basically with one year left, by the time you get an individual elected, it would probably be April or so. It is not really fair to the individual because in the next couple of months they would have to run again. And the cost is approximately $10,000 for a byelection,” Dowhan said.
“The financial costs and administrative time put into a byelection with an election coming up is not really a wise course of action.”
Dowhan was humbled by the faith his fellow councillors showed in him through the appointment and, he hopes the citizens of Dauphin are comfortable with his appointment.
With 19 years on council, the last eight of them as deputy-mayor, Dowhan believes he has the skill set needed to guide council through the final year of its mandate.
“I know the processes and the financials of the city quite well. From 1998 we have become a can do community and I am a can do person and I want to continue that until the election. I want a seamless process. We have a good group of councillors willing to work with me, for the city,” Dowhan said.
“We have top notch administrators and excellent, excellent Public Works staff that take pride in their work and we don’t want to disrupt that.
“I felt too that it is in the best interests of the city to have experience (in the mayors chair). I think council made the right decision and I hope the people approve of that.”
Dowhan hopes to guide council along the same path to sustainability that it has been negotiating for the last few years.
“That is the legacy, I think, Eric left us and we have to continue on. To work on sustainable projects and to rely less on hydrocarbons,” Dowhan said.
Councillors also appointed Kathy Bellemare as deputy-mayor to fill the seat left vacant with Dowhan’s move to the mayor’s chair.