Mariam Hamou was picked as the new Ward 6 councillor by London’s Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee on Monday in a narrow vote.
She won against Nancy Branscombe in a run-off vote eight to six, following a split seven to seven vote in the previous round.
Had Hamou tied with Branscombe in the run-off vote, the decision would be made “by lot,” where both candidates’ names would’ve been placed in a jar and one would’ve been picked. That would’ve be the winner.
“It was an intense vote and I was really hoping that it wouldn’t go to a picking out of the hat because we might have made international news with that,” Hamou told CBC News following the win. “So, I’m really happy that things turned out the way they did in terms of a fair vote.”
In order to avoid drawing a name, Coun. Michael van Holst announced in the meeting that he was going to change his vote from Branscombe to Hamou.
“So, I think as my preference is not that a selection be drawn by lot,” he said, “I would change my vote believing that both these candidates, along with many others, would do an excellent job.”
20 hopefuls were vying to fill the seat, which has been left empty to fill following the departure of former city councillor, Phil Squire.
Squire made the move to Ontario’s Consent and Capacity Board last month, subsequently and suddenly leaving his post with the city.
According to Hamou’s application for the job, she’d lived in the ward for more than 30 years, and among a wealth of experience, was the chair for the London Public Library board of directors and worked in the House of Commons.
The decision will be brought to council Tuesday afternoon.
‘Concerns and apprehensions about the process’
Ward 11 Coun. Stephen Turner said yesterday that he had “concerns and apprehensions about the process.”
“One of the biggest ones is the fact that this doesn’t represent, necessarily, the interests of the residents and constituents of the ward,” Turner said. “The really only true way to do that is through a by-election and actually going to the people.”
He would like to see an appropriate, transparent and consistent process in the event that they’re faced with the same decision in the future.
London Mayor Ed Holder agreed that a consistent process is desired for the future.