Nanaimo city councillor tells mayor 'bite me' in heated meeting
Published Thursday, October 27, 2016 6:30PM PDT
An outburst in which a Nanaimo city councillor told the mayor “bite me” was caught on cellphone camera, frustrating residents who say they’re fed up with personal squabbles at city hall.
Coun. Gord Fuller’s outburst came during a Wednesday morning council meeting fter a member of the public asked to speak about an issue unrelated to the meeting.
Lauren Semple wanted to ask council to halt the planned removal of four full-time guards at Nanaimo’s jail – a decision that will end the city’s practice of having at least one female guard on shift at all times.
McKay and Coun. Diane Brennan were asking about logistics of reopening the issue at a later date but Fuller, who supported the decision to remove the guards, didn’t want to hear it. He was asked to leave, and that’s when he responded with “bite me.”
“Mayor McKay tried to make an additional motion which upset Coun. Fuller and their altercation kind of branched from there,” said Semple. “I feel like my concerns as a resident of Nanaimo were wrapped up in some inner city politics and soap opera drama.”
McKay said Fuller’s outburst was a disruption and made people feel “unsafe” at the meeting.
“We have to leave our feelings at the side,” he said. “We have to remember that every single person in that room was appointed to their position by the electorate.”
On Thursday, Fuller apologized to the public for his behaviour – but didn’t go so far as to apologize to McKay.
“I speak my mind. I do what I was elected to do. Was it right? No. Should I have done it? No,” he said. “I will do my best not to have an outburst like that but I can’t promise anything, the way things are going.”
After Wednesday’s meeting, Nanaimo residents say they’re fed up with the drama.
“It’s letting out frustration, but there are other ways to do that and you expect that of somebody you elect,” one woman told CTV News.
“It’s embarrassing, I think, for the City of Nanaimo itself,” said one man.
Infighting between Nanaimo’s city council and mayor is nothing new.
Last spring, seven councillors including Fuller signed a letter calling on McKay to resign, alleging that he’s a bully, and saying they’ve lost confidence in him.
The mayor said he wouldn’t resign and called the allegations of bullying unproven and unfounded.