Political irony, the Brockville edition

(Mayor David Henderson may be applying for the top administrator's job.)

Will the end of this council term also mark the end of Mayor David Henderson’s tenure at city hall?

Not necessarily.

Eyebrows went up around the council table at the start of Tuesday’s finance, administration and operations committee meeting when the mayor, who is not seeking re-election in the Oct. 22 municipal ballot, declared a conflict of interest on one of the agenda items.

The committee is recommending to council a motion approving the job description for the next city manager, setting in place the recruitment process and authorizing a request for proposals from headhunting firms.

Henderson declared a conflict of interest on that item, and left the room during the discussion and vote, because he won’t be mayor when that process gets underway and, as he put it, he wants to keep his options open.

So it seems Henderson is at least considering applying for the position made open with the departure, in July of former city manager Bob Casselman, a job now being done on an interim basis by former planning director Maureen Pascoe Merkley.

A lot has to happen before Henderson can land back at city hall after a three-term career as mayor.

The incoming council will form a “Selection Review Committee,” which will consider Henderson’s application along with those of whomever the chosen headhunter supplies as a shortlist.

And that incoming council could bring with it some interesting political twists.

The next mayor will be on that selection committee, and there’s a chance that next mayor will be Cec Drake, whom Henderson defeated in that last election in 2014.

Meanwhile, about a month ago, I suggested in a news story that former councillor and current council candidate Tony Barnes was, in a way, relitigating the 2006 mayoral election.

Now, it turns out, there’s an actual chance he could also turn the tables on the man who beat him 12 years ago.

Barnes has made it clear – again at last night’s all-candidates meeting – that getting onto the selection committee for the new city manager will be his immediate priority if elected councillor.

Barnes is running on a promise to bring the continuous-improvement philosophy found in some areas of the private sector to city hall, and he considers the choice of the new city manager to be a pivotal part of that program.

Should all the stars align for Barnes to be on that selection committee, I don’t doubt this corporate philosophy will be his top priority, rather than political considerations.

Similarly, Drake has so far shown no indication of being anything other than a straight-up guy.

But those council-watchers whose memories are not atrophied by social media attention spans will, nonetheless, have occasion to raise eyebrows again.

Because, if a few things play out in one particular way, Henderson may soon be sitting down for a job interview only to be staring at two men he beat in past elections.