POLITICS

New Brunswick village seeks byelection after mayor quits in feud over drinking

12/12/2012 04:17 EST | Updated 02/11/2013 05:12 EST
CHARLO, N.B. - A village in northern New Brunswick is asking the provincial government to call a byelection after their mayor quit over complaints that some councillors were drinking alcohol in the municipal building.

The deputy mayor of Charlo said the village council decided Tuesday night to remove the beer, wine and liquor that was stored in a refrigerator in the municipal building and ask the province to order a byelection to fill the mayor's chair.

"We are hoping a new mayor will come and we will work with him," Denis McIntyre said Wednesday.

Jason Carter resigned last week as the mayor of Charlo, a community of 1,300, after he said some councillors were drinking alcohol in his office after village meetings. He said they refused to stop the practice despite his repeated requests.

He said the issue came to a head with the councillors in August when he removed the booze from the fridge and posted a note saying he didn't want it kept there.

"Then from there everything broke loose and they were upset because I didn't inform them I was doing this," Carter said.

He said the building doesn't have a liquor licence and he was concerned the village would be liable if any councillors got into an accident after drinking there.

"I saw this as looking out for the best interests of the municipality," he said.

Carter said after complaints from the councillors he put the booze back in the fridge, but decided he could not remain as mayor.

But McIntyre said councillors only had drinks there on a few occasions, and no village decisions were made during those gatherings.

McIntyre said the council accepted Carter's resignation because he was difficult to work with and often in conflict with the rest of the council.

"A lot of the time Mr. Carter was going on his own on issues and it was undemocratic," McIntyre said.

But Carter said councillors weren't willing to listen to him.

"If we couldn't solve a little thing like alcohol, how are we going to solve anything major?" Carter said.

Elections New Brunswick said once it receives a formal request from the village to order a byelection for the mayor's chair, it will be added to the list of byelections to be held in May.

McIntyre will serve as mayor until the byelection is held, but says he won't be running for the post.

— By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton