Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay says he has no plans to quit after seven council members called on him to resign.
On March 8, city councillors Jim Kipp and Bill Bestwick handed McKay a letter calling for his resignation, signed by seven of the eight councillors.
That was not made public, but on Monday it surfaced when Robert Fuller, Coun. Gordon Fuller’s brother, raised the issue at this week’s council committee-of-the-whole meeting.
McKay said the petition has no legal standing and he will continue with the job he is sworn to do.
“I am not going to take the opinion of seven people in the community and resign,” McKay said in an interview Wednesday. “I was duly elected. I come in to work every day and do that job to the best of my ability, to be mayor. I’m not going to resign and force the community into the difficult situation of a byelection because seven people want it.”
Past differences on such issues as a fight with the province over a removal order on Colliery Dam, the cancellation of a controversial conference at the city-owned conference centre and the replacement of the city manager have divided council, but “you just learn to cope,” McKay said.
Robert Fuller railed against the mayor in the public question period of Monday’s council committee meeting, then long-time council watcher Janet Irvine, pointing out the city no longer has a daily newspapers, said people are turning to social media for current news.
Then she quoted a statement made on social media suggesting a campaign to “discredit” the mayor and force his resignation. Reader comments on the Gordon Fuller Facebook page Municipally (A)MUSING, were harsh. “The purpose is to discredit him to the point that nobody will give him the time of day. For now he needs to become the toothless lion who is no longer in charge of the pride…He is simply doing too much damage…What a shame.”
The letter has not been made public.
Bestwick confirmed he and Kipp presented the letter to the mayor, on behalf of the seven who signed it, including councillors Fuller, Jerry Hong, Wendy Pratt, Ian Thorpe and Bill Yoachim.
“Obiously what’s driving this is members of council have lost confidence of the mayor to lead,” said Bestwick.
Hong said the letter was really about notifying the mayor of council’s concerns.
“We as a council are not having problems working together. We can agree to disagree,” Hong said. “This isn’t about a power struggle, it’s about getting the mayor to work with us.”
He said McKay has repeatedly acted singly, without council’s approval on a number of matters, but those are being discussed in camera (behind closed doors), and when councillors are ready to release it, “other stuff is going to come forward.”