MONTREAL – Montreal will have its next interim mayor — the third mayor in less than a year — by early next week.
The city clerk’s office has announced a vote will be held during a special meeting of council next Tuesday.
A handful of councillors have been named as potential successors to Michael Applebaum, who stepped down as interim mayor after being arrested on corruption-related charges.
For now, the city’s pro-mayor will be acting mayor until next week’s vote.
Councillors will have until Friday afternoon to put forth their candidacy, with a vote to come after the long holiday weekend in Quebec.
The next interim mayor might not hold the post for long — a municipal vote is scheduled for November and none of the presumed contenders are seeking the temporary job.
There are currently 62 active city councillors on the 65-seat council and the new interim mayor must be chosen from among them. Of the sitting councillors, 41 sit as independents.
Applebaum, the man he replaced, Gerald Tremblay, and longtime municipal politician Claude Trudel have all quit their seats in the past year.
Several councillors have said they’ll spend this week weighing whether or not to run. Two councillors threw their name into the hat on Wednesday.
Francois Croteau, a member of Projet Montreal and an east-end borough mayor, was first to see the clerk and hand in nomination papers.
Croteau told reporters he wanted to run in the hopes of calming things down as November’s election approached. He told reporters that it’s time to turn the page from the former Union Montreal councillors who were in power during the past several years.
“My interest here is not to gain popularity from members of council, my objective is to serve Montrealers and to make sure that the best person available is at the head of the city,” Croteau said.
Croteau said he won’t run for Montreal’s mayoralty in November, but plans to run in Rosemont Petite-Patrie, where he is borough mayor.
Later Wednesday, Alan DeSousa, another longtime councillor and borough mayor of St-Laurent, followed suit. He said he reflects the diversity of Montreal and insists he is clean with nothing to hide.
“My integrity has been demonstrated over 27 years of public service, my name has never been tarnished,” DeSousa said.
DeSousa, a former Union Montreal member, said he has the experience and the understanding to pick up the slack for the time being. He said he thought about it for a while before deciding to submit his name.
“I’m not there for the glory,” DeSousa said. “The situation is urgent and there’s a need for someone who can lead.”
Applebaum was arrested by anti-corruption police on Monday and told he was facing 14 criminal charges related to city business dealings in his former neighbourhood.
Applebaum says he’s innocent and will fight the charges, which include fraud, conspiracy, breach of trust and corruption in municipal affairs.
He is being represented by Montreal lawyer Marcel Danis, a former Tory cabinet minister in Brian Mulroney’s government.
Applebaum won the interim job last November with the promise of a multi-party coalition and a vow to root out corruption. He was the first Anglo mayor of Montreal in 100 years.
He had replaced Tremblay, a three-term mayor, late last year after the latter resigned following damning testimony at Quebec’s corruption inquiry. Tremblay has not been charged with anything.
Applebaum is to appear in court later this year.