Toronto Catholic district school board chair Michael Del Grande

Toronto board chair chosen by chance

By 
  • December 10, 2014

Michael Del Grande captured the chair’s seat for the Toronto Catholic District School Board by the luck of the draw.

Del Grande and last year’s chair Jo-Ann Davis were tied in voting for the position at the board’s inaugural meeting Dec. 1, forcing a tiebreaker that saw Del Grande emerge as chair. The Education Act dictates a 50-50 chance lot be drawn to break the tie.

Del Grande has no problem with an elected leader ultimately being decided in a fashion similar to a coin toss.

“You don’t have much of a choice when you are at a stalemate,” he said. “Tell me a better way. If you are in a stalemate you are in a stalemate and you have to break that stalemate.”

Nancy Crawford reclaimed her seat as vice-chair following a 7-5 vote.

To avoid the chair being chosen by chance in the future, Del Grande said a potential solution would be to have an odd number of trustees so ties do not occur. He said that is a change which would have to come from the Ministry of Education.

“That is something to consider but that has to with legislation from the province and is based on the total number of students,” he said.

“If they want to raise (the number of trustees by) one or remove one to make it an odd number that is up them, that is not up to the board.”

Del Grande is a former chair of the board who ran for trustee this past October after spending the past 11 years as a city councillor.

Although Del Grande said he would be seeking the chair position during his campaign, being chair is not something he wants to do. He said his experience at City Hall as well as his experience as chair previously makes him “the right person at the right time.”

“I really don’t want to be chair,” he said, “(but) if I am just a regular trustee I can’t accomplish as much as I can if I were speaking (at City Hall) on behalf of the board as the chair.”

Despite the board being divided on chair, Del Grande is confident all 12 trustees will be united under his guidance.

“People have a particular opinion and the votes can be divided but I think that is part of the job of the leader that is chosen to bring in unanimity to the board.”

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