City Hall on Powell Street, built after the Great Fire of 1886

Mayor David Oppenheimer declined to sign the minutes of the last meeting beyond the point at which he left the Chair and the special meetings. Alderman Brighouse moved and Alderman Brown seconded a motion that the Mayor leave the Chair, and the motion was carried 5-4. The City Solicitor gave the opinion that “there was nothing to that effect in the City Charter.” Upon Oppenheimer’s order to the Clerk to proceed to the next order of business, six of the Aldermen left the Council Chamber, thus leaving no quorum.

This transcript was made in 2016 by Transcribimus volunteer Christopher Stephenson
and sponsored by Shirley Barnett

original handwritten minutes here
City of Vancouver Archives
Series 23-A Volume 4 pages 248-249

Vancouver March 9th, 1891

The Council met on Monday March 9th 1891

Present His Worship the Mayor and Aldermen Brighouse, Carroll, Godfrey, Scoullar, Templeton, Hobson, Brown, McDowell, DePencier, and Doering.

The Minutes of last regular and special meetings were read.

After the Minutes were read the Mayor stated that he would firmly but respectfully decline to sign the minutes of the last meeting beyond the point at which he left the Chair and the special meetings.

It was then moved by Alderman Templeton

Seconded by Alderman Brighouse

That the Minutes of last regular and special meetings be adopted as read.

The Mayor ruled that he would not sign that portion of the Minutes of the regular meeting after he left the Chair, but would sign the preceding minutes and the minutes of the special meetings.

Alderman Carroll and DePencier wished a note to be made of the fact that they retired from the Council Chamber after the Mayor declared the adjournment and did not take part in any subsequent business.

Moved by Alderman Brighouse

Seconded by “ Brown,

That the Mayor leave the Chair.

The Motion was put by the mover, and declared carried by a vote of 5 to 4.

The Mayor referred the mover and seconder to clause 19 of the procedure By-Law.

The City Solicitor being asked his opinion on the situation stated that he did not think it mattered whether the minutes were adopted or not.

The business could go on just as well as not.

As regards the motion that the Mayor should leave the Chair, there was nothing to that effect in the City Charter. There is special provision in the Charter of Victoria that when a Mayor refuses to put a motion, another can take his place. This had been put in for just such an emergency as a deadlock had occurred at Victoria. If the business went on he thought it would be legal.

Whether the action of the Council at the last meeting was legal or not was an entirely different question. It was purely a matter of discretion on the part of the Mayor whether he refused to put the motion or not. They could overrule him by a vote of two-thirds of the members present.

As far as the signing of the Minutes were concerned it did not matter either way as far as their legality was concerned, as the minutes were simply a record of the proceedings.

The Mayor then ordered the Clerk to proceed to the next order of business.

He proceeded to read the communication whereupon six of the Aldermen left the Council Chamber thus leaving no quorum.

The Mayor then left the Chair and the Council stood adjourned.

D. Oppenheimer
Mayor

Thos. F. McGuigan
City Clerk

Six aldermen walk out, leaving no quorum – Mar 9, 1891
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