THIS week, former Penticton mayor Dan Ashton, who was elected MLA from Penticton last May, handed a $32,000 cheque to the city for the cost of a by-election for the mayor’s post after he quit. He had pledged to pony up that cash if he won in the provincial election – and he deserves praise to have kept his word.
Unfortunately, other mayors and councillors who became MLAs have either hung on to their municipal posts or have not forked out their own money for any resulting by-elections.
Surrey Councillor Marvin Hunt, who was elected MLA for Surrey-Panorama, indulged in a big drama about how he was saving taxpayers some $600,000 that a by-election would cost to elect another councillor if he quit before early 2014. The next civic election takes place in November 2014.
He is supposed to be working FREE for Surrey right now.
But as I noted in July, does he really believe that the city cannot do without him?
Also, shouldn’t Surrey have a councillor who can give his UNDIVIDED attention to their problems?
Last May, when I pointed out to him that he had said that he would be able to do both jobs, he shot back: “I have never said I can do both jobs. I have said that I will do both jobs if that’s what it takes in order to avoid that expense.”
In any case, why quit at all? After all he’s been doing work as a councillor part-time all these months. A part-time councillor is still better than no councillor, no?
Unless, of course, Surrey doesn’t need so many councillors!
I left a message on Hunt’s cell phone on Wednesday, but he didn’t return my call.
As I have written earlier, I think the provincial government should draw up firm rules about mayors and councillors resigning once they get elected as MLAs or MPs – and NO exceptions!
– RATTAN MALL