Advance View: Odd mayors not much of a threat

We can certainly sympathize with the residents of Saanich right now.

Newly elected Richard Atwell has recently admitted to lying about an extramarital affair, which came to light when Atwell called 911 after a fracas with the woman’s fiancé. But that’s largely a private matter – of more concern to Saanich residents is the fact that Atwell has already been censured by his own council, after he tried to force a senior civic staffer out of office, costing the municipality $488,000 in severance. He’s now claiming that someone is bugging his computer, and that the local police are harassing him. 

Not bad for someone who’s been in office less than two months.

Atwell joins the list of eccentric and oddball mayors who have served from tiny towns of a few hundred to the biggest city in the land. Atwell seems to be angling for the title of “Most Controversial Mayor” now that Toronto’s Rob Ford has moved back to being a councillor.

Fortunately, most Canadian municipalities, including all of those in B.C., run under what’s known as a “weak mayor” system.

The mayor is definitely the key spokesperson for their city or town, but when it comes to powers, they have only a handful that exceed those of the rest of the councillors.

We’re just now getting to know a host of new councillors and mayors in B.C., with thousands of new officials taking their seats after last November’s elections and the Christmas break.

Some of them will do great things for their towns, uniting fractious neighbourhoods, building infrastructure, helping build communities that host good homes, jobs, and schools.

Some of them won’t work out quite so well. The lesson in that seems to be that not putting too much power in any one official’s hands, whether mayor or councillor, is a pretty good idea. And that, just maybe, recall legislation might not hurt.

– M.C.

Just Posted

Langley comes out on top in Special Olympics

Langley basketball players in the A/B Division took first place over Kelowna.

Budget cuts at Kwantlen Polytechnic will mean larger classes

President of Kwantlen faculty association says spending on administration salaries is going up

Fraser Valley Thunderbirds take silver in finals of new minor midget hockey league

Team of mostly Langley players will have a new look in the second season

Langley tutor lauded on ice

Sylvia Lloyd was recognized for the work she does – paid and unpaid – helping tutor children.

WATCH: Out and about in Langley

March 20-22; your guide to community happenings.

Free app launches to help immigrants, refugees as they settle in B.C.

Mobile app Arrival Advisor was developed by Vancouver-based non-profit PeaceGeeks

Catch-up immunization aims to stamp out B.C. measles resurgence

Vaccination records to be checked at B.C. schools next fall

Latest phone scam tricks Vancouver seniors out of $3.1 million

Police caution the public about using a landline phone

Bodies of two missing teens recovered in reservoir along Kootenay river

Volkswagen Beetle drove off the road down a steep embankment and into the Pend d’Oreille River Sunday

40 records broken across B.C. as hot streak continues

Abbotsford hottest spot in Canada on Tuesday

B.C. wildfire prevention budget bulked up as dry spring unfolds

Night vision goggles tested for early detection effort

Vancouver driver ticketed twice within 6 minutes for same offence

The man was written up by two different officers for using an electronic device

B.C. teacher reprimanded after incident with Grade 11 student in school gym

Gregory Norman Brock was teaching at a high school in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District

Most Read