Procedural error leaves Coulter on the sidelines

Chilliwack school trustee Dan Coulter was sworn into office prematurely which had him watching from the sidelines at Tuesday's board meeting

Tuesday’s school board meeting was almost a comedy of errors.

After being prematurely sworn into office last week, newly elected Chilliwack school trustee Dan Coulter had to sit out of Tuesday’s board meeting.

But was that also a mistake?

According to section 137(1) of the Local Government Act, a candidate cannot be given their oath of office until the nine-day period for a judicial recount has passed following the official release of election results.

The City released the results on Dec. 2, which meant the earliest Coulter could be sworn in is Dec. 12.

“We did not realize this at the time, so we gave him his oath at the board meeting immediately following the election,” on Dec. 3, said board chair Walt Krahn.

City officials notified the school district of its mistake Tuesday.

But they, too, were mistaken.

According to section 135 of the Local Government Act, where no application for judicial recount has been received, a trustee who’s been declared elected may take the oath of office on the 10th day after the close of general voting.

There was no application for recount.

That means Coulter could have been sworn in at Tuesday’s meeting given the election closed Nov. 30.

“Byelections don’t happen often; this is new territory for us,” said Krahn. “In the zeal of getting rolling, sometimes things may go amiss.

“But we had to err on the side of caution.”

And so, Coulter spent the three-hour meeting not sitting around the table with fellow trustees, but watching from the sidelines in the public viewing area – not able to vote or even comment on the proceedings.

He said, while initially disappointed, it wasn’t a big deal.

“It’s one meeting,” he said. “I’ll be sitting in on a lot of meetings.”

Coulter will officially retake the oath on Dec. 13.

kbartel@theprogress.com

twitter.com/schoolscribe33

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fraser Valley snow storms finally fade

Six snowstorms in seven days pours on more than 40 cm

MP is urging people to weigh in on MAiD consultation

Online consultation will be taking feedback on assisted dying until Monday, January 27

Peking Acrobats bring extraordinary exhibition of agility, athleticism and grace to Chilliwack

They will perform in beautiful costumes with dazzling special effects and live musicians

Registration opens today for arts-and-tech middle school cohort in Chilliwack

Students enrolled in Grades 6 to 8 at A.D. Rundle can transition to new arts-tech high school

Rain returns to Chilliwack to create a melted mess

Residents are asked to clear the catch basins out in front of their properties if they are able to

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

Police seize nearly 50 kilos of drugs in Surrey

Police say this has taken perhaps millions of deadly doses of fentanyl and other drugs off the streets

Young child seriously injured in suspected drunk driving crash in Delta

“This needs to stop,” says Insp. Ciaran Feenan, head of the Delta Police Department’s patrol section

Elderly man in serious condition after being hit by bus in Burnaby

RCMP believe man, 82, was not at a crosswalk at the time

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

70% of ICBC calls in the last two weeks came from Lower Mainland

This was in a 17-day stretch from Jan. 3 to Jan. 19, inclusive

Most Read