St George springs another councillor leak
The Corporation of St George is preparing for another municipal election in the wake of the loss of the third councillor this year.
A notice in the Official Gazette published on Thursday announced that a special election would be held in the town on January 16 to fill a seat left vacant by the resignation of Lloyd Van Putten less than a year after his election.
Mr Van Putten served as a resident councillor since the Municipal Election in April.
The Corporation of St George did not respond to a request for comment as of press time last night.
His departure follows those of Tania Stafford and Phillip Seaman, who stepped down in July and October respectively.
Ms Stafford stepped down in the aftermath of a decision by mayor George Dowling to open a pedestrianised section of Water Street to traffic without a council vote.
The decision was reversed a day later by Mr Van Putten as acting mayor.
Mr Seaman later said the incident contributed to his decision to resign.
He told The Royal Gazette: “Water Street didn’t go to a vote and it contributed to my decision to step down, but I also had personal reasons. Others called for his resignation.
“The mayor called me and said he had decided to open up Water Street to vehicular traffic. I didn’t even have a chance to discuss it; he just told me.
“He doesn’t have the power to do that — the mayor has the deciding vote if it is a tie, but he thought he had the power to make decisions. I believe in a democratic process.”
Mr Dowling later accepted that he had not followed protocol and the decision should have been brought to a general council meeting.
The Corporation of St George has struggled to find a full cadre of eight councillors throughout the year.
Even before the resignations one resident councillor post was left empty at the Municipal Election in April after only five candidates stepped forward for six seats.
That seat was later filled by Nyon Dowling, the brother of the mayor, who defeated Alfonos Harris at a special election.
Ms Stafford’s seat was filled in October by David Chew, while Mr Seaman’s seat was won by Mr Harris last month.
Update: This story has been changed to clarify that Nyon Dowling won his seat in a special election against Alfonso Harris.
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