The mayor of Kamloops says he won’t be turning any recordings or documents over to city staff after council last week voted to compel him to do so.
But Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson said he will be happy to hand them over to officials from B.C.’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs when they begin working with city council.
“Well, for starters, they’re assuming documents and stuff — they’re assuming all that stuff,” the mayor told Castanet Kamloops on Monday.
“But we do have municipal affairs coming, so I’ll give everything to them. I don’t have what they think, anyway.”
In a closed-door council meeting last week at which Hamer-Jackson wasn’t present, councillors voted to direct the mayor to turn over any audio recordings, transcripts or notes taken at his direction by a non-city representative during conversations with city staff when they were not aware another person was present.
The move came a few weeks after Hamer-Jackson disclosed in an open council meeting that he had a secret recording of a conversation he had with city CAO David Trawin.
Hamer-Jackson went on to tell Castanet Kamloops after that meeting that his wife recorded the phone call while he was driving with her in a vehicle. He later told Castanet that his wife routinely takes notes for him during city-related phone calls.
The mayor was ordered to turn any recordings and documents over to city human resources boss Colleen Quigley within 10 days. The deadline is Friday.
Council also voted to have the city retain an external investigator to conduct an investigation of Hamer-Jackson’s alleged practice of recording staff members and having non-city representatives present during conversations.
Last week, Hamer-Jackson told Castanet he had not read the council resolution compelling him to turn the items over, and he had no plans to change that.
The mayor said he is hesitant to hand over materials to city staff, if they exist. He cited allegations that he tried to fire Trawin — which Hamer-Jackson refutes — and an apparent unwillingness among city staff to take direction from him on investigations.
“I’ve asked for several investigations into certain individuals for months and months now, since pretty much out of the chute," he said.
"And the only investigations that ever seem to be happening are the ones on me — and they’re hitting a lot of dead ends.”
At the Union of BC Municipalities conference in Vancouver last month, Hamer-Jackson and city councillors met with Minister of Municipal Affairs Anne Kang about getting a municipal advisor to help Kamloops city hall deal with issues created by the rift between mayor and council.
Council voted unanimously last week to ask the ministry for an advisor.
According to the ministry, municipal advisors are appointed in “extraordinary circumstances” to help a council work together, clarify roles and facilitate effective decision making.
Municipal advisors are currently in place in Harrison Hot Springs and Silverton. In recent years, they have been appointed in the Village of Lions Bay, the District of Wells and the Village of McBride.
Kamloops council has been beset by conflict since shortly after its inauguration, when 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.
Prior to the secret-recording investigation, Hamer-Jackson was the subject of a code of conduct probe, 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.
There is no word yet when a Kamloops municipal advisor might be appointed.
— with files from Kristen Holliday