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Kamloops councillors to release statement in response to mayor’s committee moves

The statement will be released at noon on March 17 at city hall
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All eight members of Kamloops council are expected to gather outside city hall at noon on Friday, March 17, to voice their response to issues that have arisen between them and Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson in light of his recent shuffle of council standing committees.

Multiple councillors spoke with KTW on Thursday night (March 16) ahead of the mayor’s keynote speech at a Kamloops and District Chamber of Commerce event.

At issue for them with the mayor’s move is that it was done unilaterally, without any consultation or vetting process with council members.

Hamer-Jackson has added to the five standing committees nine people from the community — including Bud Smith, the former Kamloops Social Credit MLA and former B.C. attorney general, and two failed 2022 civic election candidates, Randy Sunderman and Darpan Sharma. In addition, the mayor has removed three councillors from their positions as committee chairs.

Coun. Kelly Hall was removed as chair of community and protective services and added to development and sustainability, in place of Coun. Mike O’Reilly, who was scrubbed from that committee entirely. Coun. Bill Sarai was demoted on community relations and reconciliation, going from chair to member.

Hamer-Jackson said he made the changes and added community members to enhance the committees and ease councillor workload. Each committee, however, has only met once so far and Hamer-Jackson conceded there has been some “drama” between himself and members of council.

Coun. Dale Bass told KTW she was stunned at the level of anger amongst her fellow councillors in relation to the mayor’s decision on the standing committees, noting she is frustrated with Hamer-Jackson. She said she hopes council will be able to review the terms of references for committees.

Coun. Katie Neustaeter said the mayor’s move seriously undermines councillors’ abilities to do their work, which she said they are still striving to do. Neustaeter said the eight councillors are a close-knit unit that Hamer-Jackson would be welcome to join if he reached out.

Coun. Nancy Bepple told KTW the issues between the mayor and council are unfortunate because everyone wants to get work done. She said getting that work done has slowed down under the circumstances.

Bass said council will be reading a prepared statement, but, due to legal advice, will not be taking questions from media.