WATCH: Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay will not run for re-election after what he calls the hardest professional trials of his life. The embattled mayor who faced everything from calls for his resignation to death threats says he’s wishing his successor in October’s election a smoother term than he had. As Skye Ryan reports two candidates have already declared they’re intentions to replace him.
Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay has announced he will not run for re-election on Oct. 20.
McKay said he came to that conclusion after speaking with his wife Valerie, friends and mentors.
“Two of the most difficult things for a politician to say are ‘I did my best’ and ‘it’s time to move on’,” McKay said.
McKay won the mayor’s seat in 2014 with more than 2,000 votes and also served one term as a councillor.
McKay’s departure comes after a term marred by controversy.
In December 2016, Nanaimo city council filed a lawsuit alleging the mayor obstructed city staff and did not act in the best interests of the municipality.
Councillors accused McKay of leaking confidential information to an employee.
McKay denied any wrongdoing and the lawsuit was dropped on councillors’ concerns of delays and legal costs.
In July 2017, a video was released by former Chief Administrative Officer Tracy Samra of an incident involving former councillor Wendy Pratt during an in-camera meeting Feb. 27 of last year.
In the video, Samra alleged being physically assaulted by Pratt, who resigned as a result of the incident.
Samra was arrested in January for allegedly uttering threats at elected Nanaimo officials, including McKay.
In May, the city announced Samra was no longer employed.
The Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce said earlier this year the dysfunction at city hall was impacting investment and projects and could be costing the city millions of dollars in lost development.
McKay is urging voters to turn out for this year’s municipal election and thanked council and city staff during his seven years of service.
Nanaimo residents will be choosing a new mayor when they go to the polls for the municipal election on Oct. 20.