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No pay for Port Coquitlam councillor on leave to run for federal office

Laura Dupont, in Port Coquitlam, and Bonita Zarrillo, in Coquitlam, won't be paid their municipal salary while they stump for the NDP; but a win would prompt a byelection in their cities.

A Port Coquitlam councillor won’t get paid while she’s on leave to run as a candidate in the upcoming Sept. 20 federal election.

On Tuesday (Aug. 17), four of Coun. Laura Dupont’s colleagues held a special council meeting to approve her leave of absence from Aug. 15 to decision-day Sept. 20.

Rob Bremner, chief administration officer (CAO) for the city, told councillors that the leave was permitted under the municipal charter because it was for less than 60 days and four council meetings.

“She’s within the framework of the community charter,” Bremner said.

In Coquitlam, Coun. Bonita Zarrillo has asked for a leave of absence to run as an NDP candidate in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam against Conservative incumbent Nelly Shin, Liberal Will Davis and People's Party candidate Desta McPherson.

PoCo's Dupont is running for the federal NDP in the Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam riding against incumbent Liberal Ron McKinnon, Conservative candidate Katerina Anastasiadis and People's Party candidate Kimberly Brundell.

In Port Coquitlam, CAO Bremner confirmed Dupont wouldn’t be paid during her leave and must still live up to her oath of office.

The leave was unanimously approved by Mayor Brad West and councillors Steve Darling, Glen Pollock and Darrell Penner who were able to make the special meeting.

The next scheduled PoCo council meeting is Tuesday, Sept. 14.

Meanwhile, Coquitlam council will decide on Zarrillo's request for leave when it next meets.

If Dupont and Zarrillo win federal seats in the Sept. 20 election, a by-election would be required to fill their posts as the next municipal election is not scheduled until October 2022.