Mission Coun. Ken Herar wants the public to know that he doesn’t plan to run for the vacant mayor’s chair, in fact, Herar doesn’t think there should be a by-election at all.
Instead, he says the way to avoid a costly by-election would be to “rally behind an experienced individual who is currently not serving on council.” And he thinks former Mayor Randy Hawes fits the bill.
In a letter written to the Mission Record, Herar explained his reasoning, both for not seeking the mayor’s chair and for avoiding a by-election.
“When I was elected to public office two years ago, I signed into a contract to fulfill a four-year-term. I feel obligated to carry this forward and to continue to serve the community in that capacity.
“I feel trust is deeply important when we serve and if I were to decide to resign and seek the mayor’s seat, I believe I’d cause further disruption to our current council body with more vacancies therefore creating more instabilities,” he wrote.
He then noted that by-elections are a costly process, which should be avoided, if possible.
He said the current council is more than halfway through its mandate and the new mayor would only be serving for approximately 18 months.
“This is a very crucial time in our community’s future to rally behind somebody with the ability to slip into the role and complete the current term ending in fall of 2022.”
When contacted about the letter Herar clarified his statements saying his hope is that Hawes would agree to run for the mayor’s position and would be unopposed, that way no by-election would be needed and Mission taxpayers would be saved about $70,000 to $80,000.
And since it is a short-term position, Herar said Hawes has the experience to deal with the major issues – sewer line, waterfront – until the next election in October of 2022.
Herar said he has spoken to Hawes about the idea.
However, Hawes said he hadn’t given Herar’s idea of running for mayor a lot of thought, considering the by-election is still months away.
“I’m thinking probably not, but you never say never because in politics, that’s the way it works. I’d want to see who’s running, if anybody is running,” he said.
Hawes did note that the situation with the waterfront development in Mission and how it has been handles so far is “very upsetting to me” and he said he doesn’t understand why municipal taxes were raised.
“In COVID, there is no excuse for a tax increase.”
Hawes said Herar is not the first person to suggest he run again.
“I’m getting an awful lot of calls, emails and messages, I’ll tell you that, saying you have to run, you have to run.”
Considering the fact the election hasn’t been called yet, Hawes said he doesn’t know what people are getting so excited about.
A by-election is needed after former Mayor Pam Alexis officially resigned from her position, having won an MLA seat in the Abbotsford-Mission riding.
“It’s been a privilege to serve as mayor,” Alexis said. “I am honoured to be able to continue to serve our community as your MLA. I look forward to advocating at the provincial level on behalf of both communities. Thank you for putting your trust in me.”
Until a new mayor is selected in the by-election, the district’s councillors will continue to rotate through the position on a monthly basis.
November’s mayor is Councillor Mark Davies and December’s mayor will be Councillor Cal Crawford. The acting-mayor schedule is online at mission.ca.
Spring’s by-election is currently being planned, and key dates and deadlines will be shared through the district’s website, social media channels as well as on the Elections BC website.