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View From City Hall: Things the unelected me didn’t know

What I/we can’t share with you? Let’s start with some background

I had thought this column should be headlined, “The things I didn’t know before I got elected, the things I can’t share with you now that I have been and the things I wish I could”.”

Way too long for a title, so I shortened it. But I would still like to cover these topics in my deputy mayor piece this month, so here are a few highlights of each.

I didn’t know I would be deputy mayor for a month or that I would have the privilege of writing this piece for KTW.

I didn’t know I would get to sign city bylaws. Recently, I had the honour of signing our very important tax bylaw before it was shipped to Victoria for approval. I also signed our important code of conduct bylaw.

I didn’t know I would learn as much about the Community Charter, but at the repeated urging of our mayor to read it, I have perused it many, many, many times. More on that later.

I didn’t know I would go to “councillor school” or that I would be part of our junior city councillors meetings. They are great young leaders in their own right.

I didn’t know just how incredibly talented and passionate our City of Kamloops staff are. They have won a lot of awards. We are so lucky to have them working for all of us. I certainly didn’t know how diverse, deeply talented and bold my peers on council were going to be. It is truly an honour to serve with them. And I didn’t know I would have to go into as many closed meetings as often as I/we have.

What I/we can’t share with you? Let’s start with some background.

Remember I mentioned the Community Charter I have read over and over? Well, Section 90 outlines the public reasons that we “may or must go into closed meetings” — and there are a lot of them.

Closed meetings might have some public members present, like lawyers and government officials, but these people are there for the reason stated in calling the closed meeting.

I didn’t know that section 117 of the Community Charter on confidentiality essentially states that “what goes on in closed stays in closed.” I now know that “closed topic(s)” and the information and people related to it, are to be kept confidential, sometimes forever.

I also didn’t know how someone can be disqualified from office as an elected official, but I know now that sections 110 and 111 outline the reasons and process.

I/we can’t share with you the reasons why we decide to proceed with projects, especially if they are done in partnership with other organizations or levels of government. I, along with council and our staff, can’t share with you lots of things, because of timing, confidentiality and other reasons.

We don’t do it to hide our reasons or hold secrets. We have our reasons. They are important, always legal and valid.

So, what do we wish we could share with you? Our bold strategic plan. We spent time earlier this year discussing, planning and strategizing that plan.

We wish we could tell you about the changes coming to our city in our holistic Build Kamloops initiative. We want you to know about some bold, forward-thinking developments and changes on which we are working.

These topics and so many more we wish we could share with you, but we can’t — yet. There are reasons for the wait. We know it will be worth it. Trust us. Oh, and wait for it, we will be sharing soon.

Lastly, I would like to close by saying I am truly grateful for the honour and privilege of serving you as one of your Kamloops city councillors. I hope I can continue to earn your trust and respect over time through service to you, the citizens of our great city of Kamloops. Thank you, Kamloops.

Stephen Karpuk is a Kamloops councillor. His email address is Council columns appear monthly in KTW and online at