Nanaimo mayor announces he won't run for re-election after tumultuous term
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Tuesday, August 28, 2018 12:41PM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 28, 2018 6:35PM PDT
It's official: Nanaimo will get a new mayor this October.
Current Mayor Bill McKay issued a news release Tuesday confirming what some already suspected – that his controversial term in office would be coming to an end.
"After careful consideration and many discussions with my wife Valerie, friends, and mentors, I have come to the decision not to seek re-election in the October 20th municipal election," McKay said in a statement. "Two of the most difficult things for a politician to say are 'I did the best I could' and 'it’s time to move on.'"
McKay said his last seven years, three of which were as a councillor, have gone by quickly and he'll have fond memories of serving the community.
He encouraged residents of the Harbour City to engage in the election process, reminding voters they have two "very qualified candidates" to choose from for mayor and nearly two dozen for council positions.
McKay said he plans on taking some time to himself after new council members are sworn in Nov. 5, following the Oct. 20 municipal election.
"I want to thank my council colleagues, our senior staff, and each and every employee of the city for the respect, the help, the comradery, and for the new found friendships along my journey of the past seven years," he said. "We have a wonderful group of people who work for the city whom I will truly miss, but will be sure to never forget your faith and dedication you show every single day while serving our community."
In his statement, McKay made no reference to the tumultuous term he served as mayor that was fraught with high-profile squabbling, lawsuits and arrests.
Earlier this year, the city parted ways with Chief Financial Officer Victor Mema for undisclosed reasons.
Mema had been backfilling for former Chief Administrative Officer Tracy Samra, who was arrested in February for allegedly threatening McKay and a council member. The city later confirmed she was also no longer employed.
Last December, the city dropped a lawsuit against McKay, who councillors accused of leaking confidential information to an employee. McKay has denied the allegation.
Among those who have thrown their name in the ring for Nanaimo mayor is NDP MLA Leonard Krog. If he wins it's expected he'll give up his MLA seat, which would trigger a byelection, potentially disrupting the razor-thin NDP minority government.