Kamloops Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson says he doesn’t plan to attend a special council meeting set for Tuesday, where councillors say they hope to “remedy” his sweeping unilateral changes to standing committees.
David Trawin, City of Kamloops CAO, confirmed the special meeting is planned for 11 a.m. on Tuesday. The meeting will be open to the public.
Hamer-Jackson has defended a series of changes he made Thursday to committee structure, referencing the community charter where it says the mayor must appoint members to standing committees. Citizens can be appointed, but the community charter says at least half of the members of a standing committee must be council members.
He has also claimed he was trying to consult with council and staff about the new appointments by sending them a document with the committee changes on Thursday when the document was leaked to reporters.
“They want me to work with them, so I sent them a document. And boom, here we go again — drama,” Hamer-Jackson told Castanet Kamloops.
He said he won’t be attending Tuesday’s meeting because he has other commitments.
“I've got prior commitments. Just because they want to leak stuff to the media — I've got prior commitments. So you know, they can do their own thing. I'm not going to change what I'm doing,” Hamer-Jackson said.
"I've got a lot of projects I'm working on, that you know I can't tell you right now, and I can't tell council, because, you know, come on.
"Remember, how long ago it was? Somebody said I was trying to round people up, fence them off, put them in concentration camps. I mean, here I have these standing committees, and I send it to them, and boom, it's all over the media. Why would I tell them? Hello? Hello? You know? But when it gets closer to the projects get done, well then I'll let them know what I'm working on.”
On Friday, each of the city's eight councillors filed into city hall, where Coun. Katie Neustaeter read a prepared statement in response to the mayor’s committee appointment changes, which saw some councillors removed from chair positions and included new citizen appointees — including some who supported Hamer-Jackson’s election campaign.
Neustaeter said council’s unease is largely with “the lack of an equitable application process" and "indifference for due diligence and best practice."
"This is all in direct opposition to the concept of a transparent, accountable and open governance and gives unfair access to select members of the public that are not available to all. Therefore this council cannot remain silent," Neustaeter said.
“Council will be holding a special meeting on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, to discuss a resolution to this unfortunate disruption of our work on your behalf, and hopes to remedy yesterday's troubling changes to the committee structure."
The statement read by Neustaeter on behalf of council also accused Hamer-Jackson of lying about his motivation for the committee changes and described him as a "chaotic and unpredictable" presence at city hall who "belittles" councillors.
Castanet Kamloops will have a reporter present at Tuesday's meeting.