By Eric Bourque
While Nicole Albright will be sworn in as the new councillor for District 5 when the Municipality of Argyle holds its swearing-in ceremony Nov. 13, Malcolm Madden – the District 5 incumbent who lost to Albright by just two votes in the recent municipal election – has indicated he plans to go to court to pursue a complaint regarding the election results.
Albright defeated Madden by two votes – 302 to 300 – in last month’s election. Madden has since pointed out that two of the people who voted in the election in District 1 should have voted in District 5. He is seeking to have the election results for District 5 nullified and have the municipality hold another election in that district.
The Municipality of Argyle, which discussed the situation at an emergency council meeting Wednesday (Nov. 7), could have pursued the matter in court itself, but council opted not to, given that Madden had declared his intention of taking legal action in the event that the municipality did not.
Had the municipality opted to take the matter to court, it would have left District 5 with no council member until the issue is resolved, council was told during Wednesday’s meeting.
Madden declared his intention to take the matter to court through a letter, written by his lawyer, Hugh Robichaud, dated Nov. 6 (the day before Wednesday’s emergency council session).
Madden – who was still the District 5 councillor at the time of Wednesday’s meeting (with Albright to be sworn in Nov. 13) – was not present for Wednesday’s session, having declared a conflict, given his involvement in the issue being discussed.
Council voted unanimously that the municipality should not pursue the matter in court, that it let Madden do so on his own. The consensus among councillors was that the municipality has to remain impartial, not showing any preference for one candidate over another. Concern also was expressed about leaving District 5 with no council representation should the municipality initiate court action.
The first part of Wednesday’s council meeting was conducted in camera for legal reasons, said Alain Muise, the Municipality of Argyle’s chief administrative officer.