Councilors vie to succeed Laval mayor

By Robert Frank

Laval city council is expected to vote this week to choose an interim mayor to replace Gilles Vaillancourt, who resigned two weeks ago, after serving more than 39 years in a succession of public offices.

In the meantime, all elected councillors resigned this week from the mayor’s political party, which will likely be dissolved.

Two members have thrown their hat in the ring to become mayor: St. Martin councillor Alexandre Duplessis and St. François councillor Jacques St. Jean.

St. Jean chairs the city’s urban planning and agricultural advisory committees, and is a member of its accessibility joint advisory committee.

Duplessis is associate councillor on Laval’s executive committee, responsible for the city’s youth, immigration, cultural communities, sports and recreation and public service files.

Whichever contender wins the contest to become interim mayor will serve until just under a year from now, when Laval citizens next go to the polls to elect a new municipal administration in November 2013.

This weeks’s council election will take place under a cloud, whilst the city remains under siege on several fronts at once, hobbling its ability to conduct day-to-day municipal business.

The municipal administration has been granted participant status at the Charbonneau commission looking into accusations of construction-industry corruption; the Quebec government has appointed two special auditors to “accompany” city officials during the coming year; and, as this week’s edition of The Suburban went to press, the Sûreté du Québec’s anti-corruption unit was executing yet another in its series of search warrants that have seen it swoop down on a long string of Laval homes, offices, financial institutions and city hall.

Executive committee vice-chairman Basile Angelopoulos told reporters at a news conference that the special auditors’ presence could pose a problem, because the province has not clearly defined their powers.

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