Maple Ridge cancels deputy mayor role

After a 4-3 vote Tuesday, council gave third reading to going back to the old system.

Coun. Tyler Shymkiw.

Coun. Tyler Shymkiw.

They all agreed that Coun. Tyler Shymkiw has done a good job as deputy mayor the past year, but most on Maple Ridge council prefer the old system of councillors taking turns as second in command.

After a 4-3 vote Tuesday, council gave third reading to going back to the old system, in which councillors take turns, usually every two months, as acting mayor.

“This is not a personal issue,” said Coun. Craig Speirs. “But I didn’t like how it worked for all of council.”

Speirs said he’s been on council for five terms and prefers the old system.

Speirs, along with Couns. Gordy Robson, Corisa Bell and Bob Masse voted in favour of returning to the rotating mayor system, while Couns. Shymkiw and Kiersten Duncan and Mayor Nicole Read voted to keep the deputy mayor system.

Whoever’s serving as acting mayor or deputy mayor gets additional pay while in that role, about 20 per cent of the mayor’s salary of about $100,000 for that period.

Councillors make about $43,000 a year.

Robson said it wasn’t about one individual, but that he didn’t like the process.

Duncan said some on council were upset they weren’t chosen for deputy mayor.

Speirs said that if the acting mayor can’t get to an appointment or last-minute meeting, someone else on council can always fill in. Councillors with busy work or school schedules can always opt out of the rotation of acting mayor, he added.

But Read said if the acting is mayor is getting the money, he or she should do the job.

“Our taxpayers pay for the deputy mayor position. The acting mayor is actually paid by the taxpayers a decent amount of money to be available for that rotation.”

So the acting mayor should be available.

“There are significant things that come up.”

Read said council, earlier this year, received a report on how the deputy mayor system was working.

“It was brought forward. Nobody cared at that point. They just wanted the deputy mayor position done away with.”

The mayor can still decide who can represent the mayor as an alternate at Metro Vancouver and TransLink meetings, which also provides a stipend for each meeting attended.

However, she usually attends such meetings.

“We are in this as a team, OK,” said Speirs. “There you go.”