St. Mary’s Band’s new chief set to assume office Friday

Jim Whitehead narrowly elected over Cheryl Casimer.

A difference of one vote made Jim Whitehead the new chief of the St. Mary’s Band in last week’s election.

St. Mary’s Band members headed to the polls on October 25 to elect three new councillors, with the highest vote-getter named the chief. Cheryl Casimer is the outgoing chief.

The band’s new chief will assume office today (Friday) in a ceremony at the band hall at 12 p.m. that will be followed by lunch. The election results originally announced on October 25 were overturned after a recount was called by chief electoral officer Marion Eunson.

Originally, Casimer was re-elected to her position by a margin of one vote. The initial results put her at 80 votes, and Whitehead at 79. After the recount, Whitehead had earned 83 and Casimer, who was a councillor for 12 years before assuming the chief position, was behind with 82. Marty Williams and Casimer will retain their seats on council after the vote.

Eunson said in a memo to the candidates, voters and community members that there were two spoiled ballots in the initial vote but it was later determined they fit the standards to be accepted.

On the ballot were six candidates in total for the three vacant council positions including Troy Hunter, Remus Clement and Rod Birdstone.

The chief is elected in the same way the councillors are. The electorate will vote for the councillors and the person who receives the most votes becomes the chief. Each voter gets three votes for their chosen councillors and there were 120 total voters.

Joe Pierre and Corey Walkley were not up for re-election. The band holds elections every two years with each position lasting for four. Vickie Thomas, chief operating officer for the St. Mary’s Band Administration, said in September that the overlap allows at least two members to remain on the board to welcome in potential new members and provide their expertise.

This year’s election was handled slightly differently with the new members being sworn in immediately.

Previously, newly-elected councillors would be voted in during October, and would spend November and December shadowing the former councillors in their final months. Now the new councillors will be sworn in November 2 and will have voting power as of that day.