Vernon councillor accuses mayor of being 'arrogant,' failing in his duty | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon councillor accuses mayor of being 'arrogant,' failing in his duty

City of Vernon councillor Scott Anderson.
January 25, 2021 - 4:29 PM

Vernon councillor Scott Anderson has accused Mayor Victor Cumming of being "arrogant" and "petulant" and failing in his duty as mayor of Vernon.

In a speech to council, the councillor lambasted the mayor for his handling of a letter to the province calling on senior government to declare places of worship an essential service and reopened.

Coun. Anderson took issue with the fact the letter sent to the province noted that Mayor Cumming and councillor Brian Quiring had not voted in favour of the motion.

Coun. Anderson said this move had sabotaged the intent of the letter and by highlighting the fact that the mayor voted against the motion watered down the weight the letter had.

"As Mayor in an official capacity in an official conveyance of Council’s will to a senior government, it’s arrogant, petulant, and quite possibly a failure of duty to the office of mayor," Coun. Anderson said.

While it's common for Coun. Anderson and Mayor Cumming not to see eye-to-eye on issues, the councillor's speech at the Jan. 25 meeting was probably his harshest critique of the mayor to date.

Coun. Anderson told the meeting the mayor had a duty to speak for and represent the will of council.

"By underlining himself as opposed, he is in effect sabotaging the intent of the letter by standing apart from it and making it clear that he disagrees with it," Coun. Anderson said.

The councillor highlighted an earlier letter sent to the province from council asking for a regional approach to COVID restrictions instead of blanket province-wide approach.

“(The mayor) editorialized until the intent of the motion itself was completely lost in a barrage of enthusiasm over the performance of the NDP government,” Coun. Anderson said.

Much of council’s debate focused on whether the letter’s footnote was intentional or council policy, and whether this had happened before.

Staff replied that the letter was a direct copy and paste of the council’s motion. 

Mayor Cumming said he didn’t see anything unusual about the letter.

“The letter says it’s the will of council, it’s carried,” the mayor said.

As to whether letters to the province had previously been sent listing which councillors had voted against the motion, no one was sure.

After a lengthy debate in which Coun. Anderson admitted to getting his "panties in a knot," council unanimously agreed it was important in the future to be consistent.

Council then passed a motion that future correspondence would say “carried” and not list councillors who were opposed.

The letter sent by Vernon council to the province.
The letter sent by Vernon council to the province.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED: Scott Anderson

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