Re. “Vagramov case to proceed summarily” (June 17, tricitynews.com).
I am paying my Port Moody property taxes today and it caused me to update myself on the city’s position with respect to Mayor Rob Vagramov.
More than 80 days ago, Mayor Vagramov’s request for an indefinite leave of absence was granted by city council.
While I agree that removing himself from the mayor’s position is in the best interests of the city, I struggle with paying him a salary while the city receives no benefit.
Putting aside the employment aspects, which I expect are complex, I find the moral implications disturbing.
If any city employee were facing a similar legal matter, they may perhaps be given a day or two’s leave to attend court or related meetings but I doubt they would be paid a salary for an indefinite absence.
Surely there are activities the mayor can do to ease the load of the city councillors (who are taking on his role in addition to their own), or to provide support to the city in other non-public-facing role.
Other than brief absences that would be granted to other employees, he would then be able to put in a full working week at city hall and demonstrate that in return for his salary, the city and taxpayers are receiving some benefit.
How can Mayor Vagramov expect the support of the city staff and the electorate when he takes money from the city in return for nothing?
Even if he is cleared of any wrongdoing or the case is dropped, do we want a mayor, a leader, that believes this is the right thing to do? I, for one, do not.
I encourage Port Moody councillors to recognize and respect that Mayor Vagramov’s request to remove himself from his position is in the best interests of the city but that they take whatever action is necessary to ensure that taxpayers receive a benefit in return for the salary he is being paid or that that salary is also suspended.
I would also propose that a code of conduct is developed to address how such situations should be managed should they arise in the future.
Lastly, I would like to thank the councillors who are stepping in to fulfill the mayor’s duties.
Craig Jackson, Port Moody