Pitt Meadows Coun. Bill Dingwall accused two of his council colleagues of being petty, and deliberately scheduling him to acting mayor duty during his usual March holiday time.
Mayor John Becker ruled Dingwall out of order at Tuesday’s regular council meeting, both for accusing councillors of a personal attack, and for bringing up the issue of electronic participation, which was not being discussed.
Dingwall persisted, saying the public could judge.
The acting mayor schedule for the past two years has been based on seniority. Becker explained he set it to give experience to rookie council members – Dingwall and Coun. Mike Stark – before they were asked to fill in as deputy mayor.
“You’ve all got your battle scars now,” he said, and the schedule could be changed.
Coun. Janis Elkerton made a motion that it be alphabetical for the coming year, not by seniority, and the motion was seconded by David Murray.
Councillors will be able to approach their colleagues to switch places in the rotation.
“For me, this is petty and personal,” said Dingwall, accusing his council colleagues of using the schedule changes to disrupt his vacation.
“There’s a reason for that, and the reason is they know I go away in March,” he said.
Becker ruled his comments out of order.
“Please do not carry on in that fashion,” said the mayor. “To suggest that this is some sort of personal attack is not appropriate.”
Dingwall said he inquired with city hall staff to determine whether he could participate in meetings electronically before he ran for council, and was told that other councillors have done so, and it is allowed in the community charter.
Becker ruled him out of order, saying the electronic attendance process has nothing to do with the deputy mayor rotation.
Both Coun. Bruce Bell and Murray offered to switch months with Dingwall to resolve the issue.
“There’s been a point of order, we’ve got to follow some rules,” said Bell.
Dingwall said he had looked at past schedules, and it was not always alphabetical.
Elkerton said council already has breaks throughout August and in December.
She would not support electronic attendance as a matter of course, calling it disruptive to meetings.