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Unscheduled vice chair vote called 'appalling'


December 07, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Tempers flared as Town Councilors chose a new vice chairman Monday, Dec. 6 — Laurent R. McDonald.

The Council was deadlocked last week with a four-four vote, as both Laurent R. "Butch" McDonald and Catherine Nikolla were each nominated to fill the seat left vacant by the death of McDonald's father, Laurent E. McDonald.

Although not on the meeting's agenda, the topic of voting again was brought up by Councilor Richard Logan early in the meeting. Logan had voted for McDonald the previous week. The difference between the two meetings was the absence of Councilor Pamela Regis, which created an odd number of votes, allowing a vote to break the tie.

When Logan suggested voting again this week, Councilor Denise Clemence quickly voiced her opposition to the idea.

"As I recall at the last meeting when Pamela Regis said that she wouldn't be at the next meeting, she was told that the Vice Chairman seat wouldn't be voted on," said Clemence. "I think it would be disingenuous to go ahead without the full council. So I suggest that if we do vote again, we wait until we have a full council. I find it appalling that you would try to sneak this in."

Councilor McDonald spoke in defense of Logan, stating that the Town Charter dictated that the seat needed to be filled and did not necessitate a full eight-member council. Chairman Steven Lazo stated that he had no idea that another vote was going to take place, as it was not mentioned on the agenda and no one told him it was going to be brought up at the meeting.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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