KAMLOOPS — A new mayor and two new Kamloops City councillors were sworn into office at a small invitation-only ceremony last night and the council is now back to a full roster.
The fact there are now nine members at the table isn’t going to make a noticeable difference in the City’s well-being, because things have been going fairly well ever since the shortfall developed last spring.
That’s due in large part to Acting Mayor Arjun Singh, who now moves back to his old spot around the council chambers horseshoe.
Singh was a compromise choice for the job after a vacancy came up when Peter Milobar left to run for MLA. Other council members saw him as somebody who could keep things going for a few months without causing any big waves, somebody who gets along with everybody including staff.
He certainly did that, and much more. He enthusiastically became the face and voice of City Hall, tackling everything that came along and getting more media coverage over one summer than he did in all his previous years on council.
He cheerfully attended every public event that required the mayor’s presence, effectively chaired council meetings and learned the ropes quickly.
It wasn’t flawless, of course. He had to grow into the increased demands of public speaking. He came to dominate council meetings a little too much.
And during the by-election campaign, he was unnecessarily defensive when mayoral candidate Bill McQuarrie challenged the way City Hall was budgeting, and its handling of the shopping cart controversy.
But those are small things, and Singh really came into his own during the wildfires. With Kamloops cast into the role of host city for thousands of evacuees, he carried a heavy responsibility as the city’s political spokesperson, and he did an admirable job.
As the City’s summer-job mayor, Arjun Singh gets a B plus. And that’s pretty good for any politician.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.