CITY HALL – Councillors blast mayor for ‘chaotic’ and ‘erratic’ behaviour

City councillors at today’s news conference. (Image: Mel Rothenburger)

The war of words between Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson and City councillors escalated today (March 17, 2023) with the councillors firing back over changes made by the mayor to the makeup of committees.

All eight councillors were in council chambers at the noon hour for a brief statement lambasting Hamer-Jackson for what they called “erratic behaviour,” “repeated disrespect” and lack of consultation.

The statement, read by Coun. Katie Neustaeter with the other seven gathered behind, took only a few minutes, after which they filed out of chambers without taking questions.

Neustaeter, in the statement, said council will hold a special meeting Tuesday to discuss what to do about Hamer-Jackson’s “troubling changes” to the committees. Whether or not the meeting will be open to the public or held in camera will be decided based on legal advice, she said.

Here’s the statement:

While we, all 8 Kamloops City Councillors, would prefer to be performing the job that we have been elected to do by our citizens, we instead find ourselves again combatting the chaotic and unpredictable behaviour of our Mayor that leads to confusion and misinformation.

This team, mostly strangers only months ago, remains united in our commitment to honest and transparent accountability to the citizens of Kamloops.

Which is why we’re here today to collectively address the sudden changes made to our Committee structure and appointments.

Counter to public comments made by Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson yesterday, no Councillor you see before you has ever expressed a desire to be “relieved” of our workload, no Councillor has ever expressed that they were “kind of overwhelmed”, no Chair has shown any “lack of commitment” or has any conflict, no committee has only “2 or 3 meetings for a whole year” scheduled, nor are we making changes to the job description to “relieve the Deputy Mayor of some duties”.

The statement says the comments were not true and continues:

Although we had heard the Mayor was considering adding members of the public to Standing Committees, and had repeatedly requested input about process or at least an overview if this was to happen, no Councillors were consulted before these unilateral changes were made. Additionally, no meetings with the Mayor have taken place where concerns about performance as Chair were discussed.

In fact, no member of this Council has been invited by the Mayor to participate in any meaningful, consultative, team building, or respectful conversation in many months.

While we, as Councillors, have been subjected to repeated disrespect, violations of personal and professional boundaries, belittling, and constantly disruptive behaviour by the Mayor, we have been willing to absorb the impact in service to our community and in an attempt to have City business compromised as little as possible.

But we must draw the line when this erratic behaviour directly obstructs our ability, as your democratically elected representatives, to do our job.

We want to make it clear that our concerns are not a reflection of our views of the individuals that the Mayor has hand-picked to serve on Committees.

In addition to disrespecting Council, our great unease is primarily with a lack of an equitable application process, indifference for due diligence and best practise, a disregard for the impact to sensitive community partner requests, an absence of reassurance around confidentiality, and the neglect of unbiased vetting.

This is all in direct opposition to the concept of transparent, accountable, and open governance and gives unfair access to select members of the public that are not available to all.

Therefore, this Council cannot remain silent.

Council will be holding a special meeting on Tuesday March 21st, 2023 to discuss a resolution to this unfortunate disruption of our work on your behalf, and hopes to remedy yesterday’s troubling changes to the Committee structure. The nature of that meeting, ie whether it will proceed in Open or Closed format, will depend on legal counsel’s advisement for the best interest of the City of Kamloops.

Your elected Councillors stand as diverse individuals united in our purpose to unwaveringly serve you despite the extraordinary challenge that we continue to face.

We remain committed to you, Kamloops.

Thank you.

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9 Comments on CITY HALL – Councillors blast mayor for ‘chaotic’ and ‘erratic’ behaviour

  1. Bluntly stated what seems to “fly under the radar” is none of the councillors (nor any on the previous one except for Denis Walsh) have provided any meaningful insight to stem the social chaos facing the city. Nor have they provided anything in regards to all other unattended files languishing in the drawer…
    Maybe if the mayor is inept, then show capabilities. If the mayor is chaotic then show calmness. If the mayor is erratic then show rationality. What they have shown is how pathetic they truly are.

  2. Did the KAMLOOPS Councillors talk to the mayor before issuing this statement?
    Did they all or individually request a sit down meet with the mayor to discuss specific issues they have?

    What specific behaviors are erratic?

    It’s is so easy to throw out general accusations if you don’t like a manager or a person in power.

    He is the mayor he doesn’t need to consult with any one and he can make decisions as he sees fit…not saying it’s the right thing to do.

    Looks like 8 great are planning a coup d’etat or a mutiny.
    Standing room only at the next council meeting. The weather is breaking and so is kamloops city council…..Buckle Up.

  3. We could wax on about the need for Mayor and Council to let go and find a way to do the good work of the city, we could chastise either one for grandstanding and obfuscating. We could even drop a few suggestions and hints as to how to manage the situation and work forward …

    At the end of the day, this has gone from posturing, rhetoric and noses getting out of joint, to a level of toxicity where if this decline happened in a company or a personal relationship … drastic changes would need to be considered. I doubt that the political / team building version of couple counselling would be effective here.

    In a workplace it would mean layoffs and structural personnel changes, but of course in elected positions, its not so easy.

    I have to admit that although a few of them have been a little boneheaded in their approach to our unskilled and inexperienced Mayor in the last few months … generally I’m on the side on Council here, and I dont think its inappropriate to pick sides here.

    He has shown his true colours,
    he’s approaching the job in a Kings robe,
    and he got there from playing the trumpian card of popular rhetoric,
    and too many voters lapped it up and donned proverbial red hats.

  4. Ian MacKenzie // March 17, 2023 at 3:51 PM // Reply

    It seems fairly clear to me that there is a depth of united discontent amongst the group of elected and reasonably intelligent folk we voted into the council that can only be explained by the inability of our mayor to work with and lead group decision making. Their unanimity , expressed so clearly in the letter read out by Councillor Neustaeter, is beyond worrisome for the next four years of a city the size of ours.
    Either he should get his act together and positively engage with the group he was elected to lead or he should resign. Either of these two acts should be done immediately. Our city can’t afford to continue with this calamity.

  5. John Noakes // March 17, 2023 at 3:05 PM // Reply

    As Deputy Mayor, Councillor Hall should have read this statement.

  6. Well, that was a surprise, said no one. When I read about the changes yesterday I was hoping that at least hammer Jackson would have run this by the council members. Pretty disrespectful not to.

    • Councillors Hall should have read the statement as acting Mayor..and not delegate it to some one who has existing and on going contempt for the mayor.
      Just putting fuel on an already burning city hall. This was not a good idea when your saying you want to improve the working environment in city council.

      OPTICS is everything.


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