A Vision Vancouver councillor has withdrawn his call for a fellow councillor to be investigated for an alleged breach of the city’s code of conduct rules related to a park board flap involving the city manager.
Coun. Geoff Meggs withdrew his formal complaint Thursday after he and Mayor Gregor Robertson met with Green Party Coun. Adriane Carr in the mayor’s office to resolve the matter.
“We agreed that some of her comments were contrary to the code, and that’s what I was seeking to clarify,” Meggs told the Courier. “So there’s no point in having a review if we agree that they were.”
Robertson, in a statement to the Courier, said he, Meggs and Carr had a “constructive meeting and we now consider the issue resolved.”
“We collectively agreed that I will take next steps with council and city staff to clarify the process by which the council agenda is produced,” the mayor said.
The meeting was called to discuss Carr’s public criticism of city manager Penny Ballem over a motion Carr wanted to introduce at a Feb. 12 council meeting related to the park board.
A few days before the council meeting, Carr drafted a motion to request city staff examine the potential financial impacts on the city’s budget of the park board’s plan to shift management of community centres from their associations to the board.
Carr said Ballem contacted her prior to the meeting and told her the motion was inappropriate because the park board was in negotiations to finalize the plan.
Carr told the media of Ballem’s call and likened it to bullying tactics and intimidation. She later apologized to Ballem in council chambers at a public meeting, saying what she thought was intimidation was probably advice.
Meggs, however, proceeded with a formal complaint against Carr and asked the mayor to investigate the alleged breach of the city’s code of conduct, which is a set of rules politicians must abide by when on the job.
Last Friday, the mayor told the Courier he was considering appointing an independent investigator into the matter but later called for a meeting with Carr instead.
Carr described the tone of Thursday’s 45-minute meeting with Robertson and Meggs as “amicable” and that she was “pleased” by the outcome.
“I have recognized that some of my comments about the city manager were contrary to the code of conduct,” she told the Courier. “I already have apologized for them and [Robertson and Meggs] recognized that.”
Despite the media storm Carr set off over the issue, she maintains there was nothing inappropriate about her wanting to learn more about what the financial impact of the park board plan could have on the city’s budget.
“This is democracy — seeing something wrong and challenging it,” she said, noting she has had a lot of public support for taking on the community centre issue. “I’ve been really quite gratified by the number of people who’ve emailed me, phoned me, etcetera. You have to be diligent about staying on democracy, otherwise you lose it.”
In the end, Carr never did get to introduce her motion at council’s Feb. 12 council meeting. The mayor ruled it out of order, saying the park board’s negotiations with community centre associations could be adversely “affected, impacted or compromised” by any council discussion on the issue.
Council’s next public meeting is Feb. 26 and Carr has another motion she wants to introduce. This one relates to the ruling Vision council’s Short Term Incentives for Rental program and whether the average “affordable” rental rate of $975 a month is being met in any of the buildings built under the program.