After creating a new deputy mayor position, council named Coun. Tyler Shymkiw on Monday as the first to fill the job.
But Coun. Corisa Bell wasn’t happy with how the change was made.
She wanted a full report on it and said council previously wanted a description of what the deputy mayor’s job would be, as well as the extra pay a councillor could earn for that position.
“In the spirit of open government and transparency, and everything this council represents, I feel it would be inappropriate for us to vote on this,” said Bell.
“That’s what we requested prior to making this decision. It’s unfortunate that all the information isn’t here.”
Mayor Nicole Read said later that there was political will to make the change.
“And so we moved fairly quickly on it when we knew we had the political will to do it.”
One full-time deputy mayor will replace the system of acting mayors, in which each councillor served for two months of the year.
A full-time deputy mayor can assist the mayor more and deal with issues quickly, and head meetings, if necessary, she added.
Council, at any time, could still pass a resolution naming a new deputy mayor.
Couns. Gordy Robson and Craig Speirs both said council should have had more information. Only copies of resolutions were provided to council on Monday.
Robson said the public wants to know how much the deputy mayor will get paid.
Read said the salary will remain the same as for the former acting mayor’s position, which is 20 per cent of the mayor’s salary of $100,000.
That works out to almost a 50 per cent raise (councillors make about $43,000) for Shymkiw if he serves the entire year.
The overall amount paid to one deputy mayor, though, will be the same as paying the premium to six councillors for two months each.
Read also wants the deputy mayor, when necessary, to attend Metro Vancouver meetings and the Mayor’s Council on Regional Transportation, which also earn daily stipends.
Read agreed that a news release could explain all the changes.
“I didn’t like how this was handled from the beginning,” Speirs said.
He wanted a report so that council can discuss it openly.
Previously, councillors all took turns as acting mayors, giving each a raise for those two months.
But with only one full-time deputy mayor, “many people are going to take a pay cut. There’s no doubt about it. We have to be honest about it,” Speirs said.
Council approved naming Shymkiw the deputy mayor, with Bell voting against.