Public won’t get to see review of Campbell River mayor’s controversial comments

Council is expected to discuss and review comments Jakeway made in a keynote address, lambasting city staff

Council’s concerns surrounding Mayor Walter Jakeway’s criticism of city hall won’t be made public despite one councillor’s attempt to bring it all out into the open.

Council is expected to discuss and review comments Jakeway made in a keynote address, lambasting city staff, that he delivered at a Rotary lunch May 23 at the Coast Discovery Inn.

Coun. Mary Storry served notice at a May 29 council meeting that she would be asking council, by way of a motion, to “review and discuss the mayor’s role as council spokesperson and whether (the) comments accurately or appropriately reflect the will and view of council.”

She stipulated that the discussion be in-camera – closed to the public and the local media.

Coun. Ron Kerr took exception to the review being behind closed doors and questioned why it won’t be done in the public domain.

“I’ve gone over the list and I didn’t see anything in that motion that would apply to in-camera,” Kerr said at Tuesday’s council meeting.

Peter Wipper, city clerk, said the motion falls under employee negotiations, which are not discussed in public.

To which Kerr asked, “who would the employee be?”

Laura Ciarniello, the city’s corporate manager, said as each councillor and the mayor are elected officials, they are officers of the city and therefore that section applies.

Storry made the motion, which has not gone to a public vote, after the Mirror ran the mayor’s comments in an article published May 25.

Jakeway told Rotarians just two days prior that the atmosphere at city hall is “toxic”, that senior staff “don’t get it” and accused staff of trying to preserve the bureaucracy at all costs – even manipulating this year’s budget process.

“The senior staff don’t get it, they really don’t,” Jakeway said at the Rotary lunch. “They don’t have the skill set, they cling to their policy documents.”

Storry took exception to the mayor’s speech and said she wants “to discuss the impacts that the mayor’s comments can have on the community and corporate organization at the earliest in-camera opportunity as directed by council.”