Port Moody council debates whether mayor should go on leave again
Published Tuesday, October 8, 2019 6:28PM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 8, 2019 7:14PM PDT
PORT MOODY - The mayor of Port Moody has been back at work following a sexual assault allegation, but some members of city council want him to go back on leave.
On Tuesday’s council meeting agenda, members will be voting on whether the Mayor Rob Vagramov should take unpaid leave.
The 28-year-old mayor was charged with sexual assault in March and took a voluntary leave of absence for five months.
Court documents suggest the leave was connected to an incident in Coquitlam four years ago. Last month, he said his legal team was looking for ways to get to a resolution that wouldn't require a trial.
“This process should no longer require the level of involvement and attention that it once did, and as such, I no longer require the leave granted to me,” the mayor said at a news conference at the time.
Since he’s been back, Coun. Diana Dilworth said, members of the public have shown their disapproval.
“If you were at our last council meeting, it was incredibly distractful(sic)," Dilworth said. "There was members of the community yelling at each other. There was women who have been victims of sexual abuse that were crying. It was an absolute gongshow and it really distracts from our ability to do the job that we were elected to do."
The councillor said municipalities don’t have the tools to deal with situations such as this, and council has been struggling with how to move forward.
“I would say this is probably one of the most historical decisions that council has ever had to make. It’s an extraordinary situation in itself that an elected official gets charged with a criminal act but have to deal with it as a community, as council is very tough,” she said.
Councillors will be debating whether the mayor should go on unpaid leave until his legal issues have been resolved. Members will also be voting on whether -- if the proceedings are over and Vagramov is found guilty -- council would formally request he resign.
Members of the public will have an opportunity to speak before council makes its decision.