Tensions are rising within Langford’s city council as the mayor is being accused of verbal assault and bullying by some council members.
Langford Councillor Lillian Szpak left the council meeting on Monday evening feeling uneasy, calling it stressful and disappointing.
“I don’t deserve this,” she said, adding that discussions in recent meetings have turned disrespectful.
“It descended into acrimony: bullying, false allegations. I would consider it to be verbal abuse. Deeply shaming for me,” she added.
On Monday, Szpak brought forward a motion, proposing that council members follow a code of conduct to ensure civil discussion.
“She brought it forward with no report, with no nothing to council. And we said, ‘well, you can’t don’t get to bring things forward,'” said Langford Mayor Stew Young, adding that he encourages a “healthy debate” in council meetings.
He said meetings have been stressful and tense for at least 10 months, alleging Szpak has been using her power to bring forward motions in favour of her own family.
“I’m getting frustrated. I’ve been the mayor for 30 years and here I am having to deal with Lillian who’s not listening and understanding that we need to solve the problem, not make it worse,” he said.
Szpak denies the allegations, calling them untrue. Now she’s seeking a formal apology from council and the mayor.
“I don’t think it’s okay to carry on as if nothing happened,” she said.
“Our community deserves better than that. They did not elect us to squabble and to pick at one another,” she continued.
While Young admits that council could approach conversations more kindly he says he’s reaching a boiling point.
“This is the worst council has been in like, 30 years,” he said.
The council opposed the motion 4-3.
They decided they’ll discuss it again if and when the province makes it mandatory to follow a code of conduct.