Allegations of bullying and calls for the Mayor of Nanaimo’s resignation will come to a head in that city Monday night.
Councillors calling for Mayor Bill McKay’s resignation and McKay himself will face off at a city council meeting. The public display of dysfunction has created a buzz of questions in that community that’s left even experts baffled.
As Nanaimo residents get on with their day Monday, an almost nervous buzz builds about the showdown that’s on the way in the hours to come.
“I don’t know. Who knows which way it’s gonna go,” says Nanaimo resident Gordon Williamson.
“Yeah that’ll be interesting. I may even show up just to see what happens,” says Bill Carter, of Nanaimo’s Bastion Jewellers.
In the wake of a fight inside city hall, going public last week when seven of the city’s eight councillors delivered a letter calling for the Mayor’s resignation over his attendance record and treatment of the city’s chief administrative officer, Tracy Samra.
“The bottom line is he doesn’t have the confidence of his council,” says Carter.
Bill Carter says in his 30 years of watching Nanaimo politics he’s never seen anything quite like this uprising, “I have never seen this kind of discord. It’s incredible.”
Gordon Williamson has known McKay for years and says this kind of conflict doesn’t fit with the man he knows.
“He’s such a fun, down to earth guy. So you can’t understand how it’s happening? I can’t understand how it’s happening,” says Williamson.
And he is not the only one baffled says Political Science Professor at VIU, Alex Netherton.
“It is so hard to say what is going on. I mean we don’t know,” says Netherton.
Despite their calls for the mayor’s resignation, under the community charter Netherton says the councillors can’t actually remove him with the reasons they’re giving. But as we’ve seen it can make a very dysfunctional working relationship.
“This is a surprise when after the last election we though boy we’d got this dream team council and a new mayor and it turns out they don’t get along,” says Netherton.
The next chapter in this political drama will be revealed when council gathers in a public meeting at 7 o’clock Monday night.