The new MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows is growing tired of the snips about him staying on as a city councillor.
“I think the story is really over. The decision’s been made,” Dr. Doug Bing said when asked to respond to a Tweet by new chamber of commerce president Terry Becker, criticizing his decision to stay on Pitt Meadows council until the New Year.
Becker, chair of the Pitt Meadows economic development corporation board and wife of former Pitt Meadows councillor John Becker, wrote: “Do what the new MLA for Penticton did – the right thing,” and tweeted a link to a story about a televised council meeting during which Bing’s decision was questioned by two residents.
Instead of resigning and triggering a by-election, Bing will stay on city council until the start of 2014.
To retain his place as a councillor, Bing only has to return to the city for council duties every 59 days.
City staff estimate a by-election would cost $15,000. Bing is forgoing his councillor’s salary until he resigns.
He had asked for a leave of absence until January, but council denied that request.
“I’ve had the decision put in my hands when council decided what they did,” Bing added.
“I think the story is closed. This is just carping, isn’t it?”
Bing said he is getting a lot of support from the public, which is helping him stand by his decision.
He said Terry Becker is only the third person who has spoken negatively about his decision to stay on council.
Becker and Bing were set to go head-to-head during the B.C. Liberal nomination race for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows in the lead-up to the provincial election, but she stepped aside, leaving the local dentist as the sole candidate.
When asked to explain her tweet, Becker said she just wanted Bing to consider the stance taken by Penticton’s mayor and new MLA.
Dan Ashton resigned as mayor and has volunteered to foot the bill for a by-election in Penticton.
“I think it should be considered as one of the options,” said Becker.
Becker’s husband John also ran against current mayor Deb Walters during the 2011 civic election and was criticized because he wanted to continue to work at his law firm and be a “part-time” mayor.
“I think the message was perhaps sent during the last election regarding the part-time, full-time issue,” Terry Becker said.
UPDATE: A previous version of the story stated that Terry Becker is the chair of the Pitt Meadows Economic Development Corporation board. Following the board’s annual general meeting in June, the board appointed a new chair.