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Kamloops News

Kamloops mayor can no longer speak on behalf of city

The mayor no longer speaks for the City of Kamloops as council has stripped him of some of his duties.

It will be the deputy mayor, a role that rotates monthly, who will speak communicate on behalf of the City and council after a closed council decision this month.

"In face of challenges, our Council remains confident in our ability to govern effectively and lead our city forward. These measures signify Council’s resolve to maintain trust and transparency in our leadership," reads a city council news release issued today, May 29.

The decision comes on the heels of a report from a provincially-appointed advisor, who gave several recommendations to council as a whole, and directly to the mayor, in order to help them work together more smoothly.

Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson was asked at the May 28 open council meeting what, if any, of those recommendations he'll commit to. He refused to commit to any. 

Council announced the new restrictions on the mayor the next day.

"We will move forward with confidence and continue to put the interests of the community ahead of our own, knowing our actions will reinforce ethical governance," the news release reads.

Official communications to other levels of government, business associations and other organizations will now go through the deputy mayor for each month, rather than Hamer-Jackson. That is Coun. Kelly Hall for the month of May.

"Mayor Hamer-Jackson has repeatedly demonstrated that he is not willing to reflect the will of council," the closed council decision reads, going on to say the deputy mayor will be the official spokesperson for the City and council each month.

It will also be the deputy mayor's job to sign off on official City records, like new bylaws, if the mayor hasn't done so within 48 hours.

Asked for a comment on the decision, Hamer-Jackson said he's "been busy" and hasn't yet seen where the document was "posted." He said he was present for part of the meeting, but "not long."

"I wanted legal representation," he said in a text message to iNFOnews.ca.

Provincial advisor Henry Braun delivered his report earlier this month, which offered recommendations to both council as a whole and to Hamer-Jackson himself.

Three weeks after its release, he has not committed to any of the recommendations that could help mend his working relationships with council and City administration, something that's been front-and-centre since the beginning of his term in November 2022.

Coun. Hall pressed him on making a commitment at the May 28 open meeting, but Hamer-Jackson asked that they be read to him.

A City staffer proceeded to read directly from Braun's report for several minutes. The mayor was on his cell phone for much of that time.

In the end, he didn't say whether he would make any changes or take up any of Braun's recommendations.

— This story was updated at 1:03 p.m., May 29, 2024, to correctly state the closed council meeting took place May 14.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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