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Kamloops mayor not ruling out more attempts to suspend city's top employee

Kamloops city council stifled Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson's effort to oust the city's top employee last week, but he hasn't ruled out raising the issue again.

While the eight councillors may be expecting Hamer-Jackson to explain how he came to the decision to suspend Byron McCorkell, he now says he will keep his reasons to himself.

"I won't be bringing it up. I will reserve my thoughts and keep moving forward from here on in, for now," he said.

Whether he'll move to suspend McCorkell, the acting chief administrative officer, isn't clear. He didn't rule out the possibility, while acknowledging the Community Charter doesn't appear to limit how many times a mayor can suspend an employee.

READ MORE: Kamloops city hall signs slapped with anti-mayor stickers

Hamer-Jackson suspended McCorkell on March 26, planning to address the issue at the next council meeting scheduled for April 9.

He then left Kamloops, first to Vancouver on Thursday and then on a flight to Las Vegas on Friday. He said he tried to compromise and address the suspension earlier with an April 1 meeting, while councillors decided on an emergency meeting, Thursday, March 28.

Councillors announced in a news release ahead of their March 28 meeting and vote that they supported McCorkell, publicly disagreeing with the mayor's "surprise" suspension. It was clear to Hamer-Jackson and the public which way council would vote before the meeting happened.

"Talk about bad governance," the mayor said.

Hamer-Jackson said he would have addressed the reasons for the suspension on April 9, initially planning to brief council on his reasons after giving them more than a week to process the suspension.

READ MORE: City's top employee unanimously reinstated by Kamloops councillors

He wasn't expecting news to break of the suspension so quickly, nor did he expect council to call an earlier special meeting. He's now decided he won't be addressing his reasons to suspend McCorkell, but he may raise the issue on another day.

He wouldn't say when that may happen.

McCorkell's suspension came in response to a "list" of concerns the mayor had including his botched slideshow at a business community dinner and the protracted battle with the city's union following a bylaw department overhaul.

The hours-long closed council meeting last week resulted in a unanimous decision to reinstate McCorkell, but it's not clear whether any other decisions were made. Hamer-Jackson said he is unaware of any possible sanctions placed on him since the meeting.

Deputy mayor for this month, councillor Bill Sarai, did not respond to a phone call from iNFOnews.ca.


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