Allegations of unauthorized spending by Nanaimo’s Mayor have surfaced as another reason for that council’s public dysfunction that’s led to seven of its eight councillors calling for his resignation.
The new details emerged at last night’s council meeting. Adding to complaints of bullying of staff members and inattendance at meetings and while the Mayor denies the allegations, residents want to know specifically what is going on behind the scenes.
If he didn’t feel targeted before by seven of eight city councillors asking for his resignation, Mayor Bill McKay sure is after Monday night’s council meeting. Council passed a new code of conduct and expenditures policy that appears to be directed at the mayor specifically.
“There’s not much you can do to someone who is not going to work with the others we’re finding that all the time,” says Nanaimo Councillor Gord Fuller.
“Obviously we need to make policy over some behaviours so to the manager Tracy – what do we do if someone isn’t following this? Because I recall we made a motion for someone to work with you and that hasn’t happened,” says Nanaimo Councillor Bill Yoachim.
The dysfunction, we’ve learned, has been building for months and created a tension at the council meeting that McKay set out to put behind them with this statement:
“I look forward to the entire council, advised by our Chief Administrative officer Ms. Tracy Samra, digging deep, finding the wisdom to forgive heal and move forward in a democratic and collaborative manner,” says McKay.
Instead a new reason for the unrest emerged.
“And we still don’t know the full details city council is now doing investigations,” says Nanaimo resident Tim McGrath.
Tim McGrath is an avid watcher and critic of Nanaimo affairs, and says new suggestions of unauthorized spending by the Mayor brought up at Monday night’s council meeting appears to be further fuel to the fire he’s facing.
“It’s starting to come out,” says McGrath.
The city’s Director of Finance says he’s seen no proof of overspending on trips or legal counsel, but questions have been asked.
“So we’re closing the books and we have the audit almost done so when that’s done then we have a number that you can say well now I can compare him to the previous mayors,” says Nanaimo’s Director of Finance Victor Mema.
That city audit won’t be available until June though, leaving Nanaimo’s Mayor fighting for his council’s confidence while maintaining he has done nothing wrong in the meantime.