The City of Langley has a new acting mayor.
Councillor Ted Schaffer, who ran unopposed for the position on Wednesday night, will carry out the role for the next 16 months.
“It’s my pleasure to serve as acting mayor and I appreciate my colleagues’ confidence,” said Schaffer, following the vote, which was taken during a special meeting on July 31.
Schaffer fills the position vacated by Mayor Peter Fassbender, who took an unpaid leave of absence after being elected last May to serve as the Liberal MLA for Surrey-Fleetwood.
Fassbender chaired his last meeting in late June. Since then, deputy mayor Gayle Martin had been filling the role. Council opted not to hold a byelection following Fassbender’s departure.
The former mayor will officially resign on Jan. 2, 2014, but Schaffer will carry on serving in an “acting” capacity until the next municipal election in November, 2014.
Schaffer said on Thursday that he is uncertain whether he will then run for the position.
“It’s premature right now,” he said.
“I’m just happy to serve on council and fulfill these duties right now that Peter (Fassbender) did.
“I’d just like the City to stay the course and I’d like to see infrastructure improve and quality of life,” Schaffer said.
“That’s why I made those motions,” he added, referring to the July 22 meeting during which he made seven motions related to the City’s walking trails, off leash dog parks, funding for maintenance in the downtown core and community gardens.
Schaffer said he hopes that will generate some input from the community.
“I’d like to see the path (the City is on) continue and I’d like to see a little more communication with the residents and the stakeholders of the community,” he said.
“The main thing is . . . I love the City. Jean and I have lived here for 33 years, raised our kids here.
“And I just wanted the City to stay on the course that it’s on now, and I felt I could do that in conjunction with my colleagues on council.”
Prior to the provincial election, Schaffer was not thinking about the mayorship, he said.
Schaffer was first elected to Langley City council in 1990. He served continuously until 2008 before taking a three-year break and then being re-elected in November, 2011.
He cited overwhelming demands of a job he took, post-retirement, in Gloucester Estates with a major hydro electric contractor, where he found himself putting in eleven and a half hour days, as his reason for stepping away.
“I just couldn’t cram it all in,” he said.
“I stepped back from council, I stepped back from my Rotary Club. I just totally focused on my new work commitment there.”
Schaffer said he is now able to commit himself fully to the role, for as long as it lasts.
“I hope people know that I’m accessible — my phone is always available.”