Mayor Ted Adlem will be asking council to revisit a motion expressing a lack of confidence in him, passed by four councillors earlier on Monday night.
Introduced by Coun. Jenny Stevens, the motion was supported by Couns. Tony Luck, Jeff Jewell, and Nelson Tilbury, who also said they are disassociating themselves from his actions and statements, unless there is a prior resolution from council
Coun. Dave Hensman, Larry Nundal, and Adlem opposed it.
Adlem doesn’t know what the outcome will be when the matter is discussed again, but he wanted to point out “the stupidity of the entire issue.”
“Clearly it’s a political issue.”
A section of the provincial Community Charter allows a mayor to bring any matter back to the council table for reconsideration within 30 days.
The next council meeting is Monday, March 3.
In an interview with The Record, Adlem says he is prepared to “go through one more week of this (political) game,” and hopes council can move forward and concentrate on doing district business after that.
“I’m hoping I’m not dealing with 10-year-olds, and sooner or later, they will come to their senses,” he said.
Asked to comment on the mayor’s remarks, Jewell said, “I don’t have any doubts we can work past this. We know we have a responsibility to do the people’s business.”
All members of Mission council were elected into office in 2011 under the Citizens Responsible for Municipal Government (CRMG) banner. The group remained intact until September 2012 when Tilbury left, indicating his views were more conservative than the rest.
Stevens, Jewell, and Luck also split from the slate in the past month, sitting as independents.
The political group began to publicly unravel in early January after Tilbury suggested Hensman appeared to have a conflict of interest when he leased a building about a block away from a property the district purchased as part of a downtown revitalization project. Hensman participated in a unanimous council vote to approve the acquisition.
Stevens, Jewell, and Luck quit CRMG after Tilbury suggested the matter be referred to B.C. Supreme Court for a ruling. All councillors were required by the Community Charter to vote on the motion, which failed because it did not gain a two-thirds majority – also required by law. Adlem, Nundal, and Hensman had opposed it.
Adlem has been accused of mishandling the issue by some members of council, but he insists every vote he has made to date has been for Mission’s best interest.
He believes the split within CRMG was caused by Tilbury, who Adlem claims did not follow procedure in the beginning when he made the accusation against Hensman.
The issue, said Adlem, should’ve been discussed privately or in a closed council meeting.
“When it was first brought up as a potential conflict, (Tilbury) had the floor,” recalled the mayor. “If he was serious, he would’ve made a motion to close the meeting and bring it up then. He didn’t do that. He could’ve also come to the mayor or CAO (chief administrative officer) and ask the issue be put on the next closed (meeting) agenda. He didn’t do that.”
Adlem accused Tilbury of attempting “to destroy Coun. Hensman’s reputation,” and added the other three councillors who supported Tilbury’s motion to bring the matter to court, condone Tilbury’s actions.
“Coun. Luck’s claim (as stated in his letter of resignation from CRMG last week) that I mishandled the issue is political rhetoric.”
Adlem says he based his vote on advice from the district’s lawyer and a report to council stating “… the question of conflict of interest in this case is not clear and obvious, and there is a very strong chance that an application (to B.C. Supreme Court) … would fail.”
“(Stevens, Jewell, and Luck) are essentially telling me how I should’ve voted,” said Adlem. “Nobody has the right to tell me how I should vote.”
The mayor’s approach to dealing with district staff, councillors and members of the general public was also criticized Monday night, with Stevens stating, “He appears to have a problem controlling his temper,” and noted she has discussed her concern with Adlem.
Stevens said the motion was not a personal attack on the mayor, but an attempt to preserve the respect for political office in Mission.
Adlem admits he has toned things down since his conversation with Stevens but will continue to defend Mission citizens.
“If those four councillors don’t like my bedside manner while I’m doing it, that will make me very happy,” said Adlem, who also pointed out there were times other members of council showed bad manners, including Stevens when she addressed a delegation last fall on the humane treatment of dogs and cats.
Adlem says CRMG is still strong and expects by mid-April to have a list of candidates ready to run in the November municipal election. The mayor “believes” he will seek re-election and says he has received more calls of support than ever in the last month.
“It’s been inspiring.”