Election: Inuvik Talking with new Mayor
INUVIK (OCT 25/96) - George Roach was at home Monday night at 10:30 p.m. when he got the call. Inuvik's new mayor was "pleasantly surprised, of course," to hear he'd just been elected.

Roach won by a razor-thin margin over candidate Roger Allen, who chased him all day at the polls but fell short at the final count. Roach won the seat with 279 votes, followed by Allen's 263, Chris Hopkins with 111 and Don Patterson with 76.

Roach may have been surprised, but he felt he had "lots of support" going into the race. "If all the people who said they'd vote for me did, I figured I had a good chance -- and luckily most of them did," said Roach.

Roach said all mayoral candidates shared similar platforms during the race, so he doesn't attribute his win to any one issue. "We were all pretty much on the same track," said Roach. The "wide range of friends and associates made over the last 20 years" helped put him over the top, he said.

Tuesday morning was a "getting up to speed day" for the new mayor. Roach met with outgoing mayor Tom Zubko to discuss the town's current condition.

The outgoing council "has done an excellent job," said Roach, and he hopes to continue its agenda of flat taxes and cost-cutting. Roach also wants council to focus on improving Inuvik's weak economy, and to push for early completion of the recreation complex.

Roach said he has no plans to undo anything the last council did. But Roach said he would "certainly work to make the laid-off (public works) employees happier." Council's privatization of the department last month created a firestorm of controversy, and a petition with 384 voter's names opposing the measure.

Roach said he would also work closely with Inuvik MLA Floyd Roland and Western Arctic MP Ethel Blondin-Andrew. "I said during my campaign that co-ordination, co-operation and negotiation are my most important skills that I can bring to the table," said Roach.

"That's what I plan to do."

The new council's first session is set for Nov. 13. The outgoing council held its last meeting last night.