Embattled Kamloops city council asking province for help amid discord

City council asks for help

Kamloops council voted unanimously Tuesday to ask the province for a municipal advisor to help with governance issues stemming from discord around the horseshoe at city hall.

Coun. Margot Middleton brought the motion forward for council consideration. She said mayor and councillors had discussed the matter with Anne Kang, the minister of municipal affairs, during the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention last week.

“Our council specifically asked what resources may be available to assist municipalities with governance issues, particularly those that are being amplified by dysfunction and discord at the council level,” Middleton said.

“The ministry advised that assistance is available, and that we would need to make the request in writing and the resolution to do so is supported by council.”

Middleton added the ministry offers this service at no cost to municipalities.

Council voted unanimously to approve the motion.

Castanet Kamloops has reached out to the ministry of municipal affairs to learn more about the role of a municipal advisor and the scope of their work.

Kamloops council has been beset by conflict since shortly after its inauguration, when Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson became involved in a legal back-and-forth with the head of local social agency ASK Wellness. Months later, the mayor made a unilateral decision to appoint members of the public — including some friends and campaign supporters — to council committees, while removing some councillors from their appointments.

The mayor has launched a defamation lawsuit against a councillor stemming from remarks she made while reading aloud a joint statement in the wake of the committee appointments.

Hamer-Jackson has also been the subject of a code of conduct investigation, which found he violated council’s code of conduct by disrespecting or demeaning three staff members, including the city CAO. He has since publicly asked to have the full report released, and has denied acting disrespectfully.

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