Mayor Milobar to take leave of absence

By James Peters
May 16, 2017 - 11:00am Updated: May 16, 2017 - 6:07pm

KAMLOOPS — Mayor Peter Milobar says he will take an extended leave of absence rather than resign from his position, forcing a by-election.

Milobar was elected to represent Kamloops-North Thompson as an MLA last week, leaving him with the decision of what to do with the mayor's position.

A by-election would have cost the city more than $100,000, and could have been held in the fall at the earliest, only about one year before the next general election.

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Milobar says the timing had more to do with his decision than the cost.

"Essentially it takes six weeks to put an election by-law in place anyways, before you can even start to have an election. I'm quite comfortable taking a leave. I'm confident the council will operate well, and the public will be happy with that. If not, there is always the option six weeks from now to still trigger a by-election," said Milobar. 

Initially, Milobar's leave will extend for about six weeks, the time it takes for staff to draft a by-election bylaw.

If council wishes, it could call a by-election at that point.

"Councillor Spina has indicated that she would resign if that happened as well, and have one more seat available. I think everyone is hoping that we can avoid having a by-election, and the city will operate well, and the governance will happen in the best interest of the electorate."

If it doesn't call a by-election, Milobar will continue his leave until the 2018 general election.

Milobar notes he favours council appointing one interim mayor in his absence, rather than reverting to the rotating deputy mayor's schedule.

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