HERE’S A WAY to settle the question of what Mayor Peter Milobar should do if he’s elected as an MLA on May 9.
The question is whether he should resign immediately — which would force a costly by-election under the Local Government Act — or go on leave until January 2018 and then resign — which wouldn’t.
The best course of action is clear — he should wait until January 2018 before pulling the plug, meanwhile taking a leave of absence. The first obvious reason is that a by-election would cost the taxpayers up to $160,000. The second is that, if a by-election is held, it probably wouldn’t be until this September.
Theoretically, it could be a month or two sooner but in July and August everybody is at the beach and not in a mood for politics, which would mean an embarrassingly low turnout. Even in September, the voter turnout will be in the one-figure range — that is, likely less than 10 per cent, based on history.
Which would mean voters would be going to the time and expense of electing a new mayor to serve for barely a year before they’ll have to vote again in the 2018 regular general civic election.
But the mayor says he has to discuss the matter with council and receive guidance before he makes up his mind. It’s pretty clear the Kamloops public doesn’t want a by-election. And at least five members of council don’t want a by-election, preferring to choose an interim mayor from among themselves.
That makes perfect common sense. But if the mayor still isn’t sure what the majority view of council is, why don’t they all just sit down and hash it out? Get themselves a neutral facilitator if need be.
It’s so simple. Make the decision now, and tell the public what it is.
It doesn’t have to be complicated.