UPDATED: Vagramov will stop taking pay while on leave on sexual assault charge

Port Moody Mayor Rob Vagramov will no longer take his $111,000/year salary while on leave of absence.

Port Moody Mayor Rob Vagramov will no longer accept his pay while he’s on leave to deal with a charge of sexual assault.

Vagramov, who has been on a paid leave since the day after the charge was announced March 28, shared his decision in an email to city councillors Monday.

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Council was scheduled to consider the status of his leave at a closed session Tuesday.

But Acting Mayor Meghan Lahti said that’s now a moot point.

“We don’t have much to review if he’s taking an unpaid leave,” she told The Tri-City News.

In the email, which was obtained by The Tri-City News, Vagramov said, "I have learned first hand how slowly the wheels of our justice system can turn, with this issue taking longer to resolve than I had expected."

He added, "I have become less and less comfortable receiving a full salary the longer this legal situation takes."

Elected as Port Moody’s mayor last October, Vagramov earns an annual salary of $111,833. The decision to grant him a paid leave was made in a special closed meeting of council March 28, then announced by Vagramov to a throng of media gathered in city hall’s galleria.

Less than a month later, council decided it would review Vagramov’s leave, and on May 8 it decided to stay the course but review its decision every 45 days.

Lahti said she believes Vagramov has heard the concerns of Port Moody voters about paying a mayor and a series of acting mayors at the same time.

“It’s the right thing for him to do,” she said.

Vagramov’s case has been adjourned until July 15. 

At a court hearing June 17, special prosecutor Michael Klein, with Vagramov’s consent, applied to proceed with the case summarily under Section 786 of the Criminal Code of Canada. That means the trial would take place in provincial court, with no option to elect trial by jury or by a superior court justice, along with no preliminary inquiry. It also means Vagramov could face a lesser penalty if he’s convicted.

In his email, Vagramov said he looks "forward to returning to work soon."

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