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Delta council votes to remove Mayor Harvie as Metro chair

Council also agreed to several policy changes when it comes to Delta's mayor and council members.
Delta Mayor George Harvie
Delta council has voted to remove Mayor George Harvie as the city's representative on the Metro Vancouver board, which would also end his tenure as Metro board chair effective July 1.

Mayor George Harvie will be removed as Delta’s representative at Metro Vancouver, his city council has decided.

Near the end of their regular meeting on Monday, councillors Daniel Boisvert and Jennifer Johal each introduced motions aimed at the mayor including his removal from the regional district board of directors. The rest of council, except for Alicia Guichon who is on maternity leave, voted in favour of all the motions.

Boisvert moved that, effective May 6, 2024, councillors Rod Binder and Dylan Kruger be appointed as directors at the regional district and councillors Jennifer Johal and himself be appointed as alternates, and that all previous appointments be rescinded. The move would have immediately removed Harvie, who is currently in his second term as Metro’s chair.

Harvie said he was not taking exception because council had the right to vote, but asked for an amendment to extend his final date to July 1 to facilitate a transition.

Harvie said he wanted to be given the opportunity to finish his current obligations for the coming months and leave “in good stead.”

Boisvert agreed to introduce that amendment for a vote but, initially, none of the other councillors seconded that amendment.

“I think it places Delta in a very poor show if you don’t even show that giving the chair 30 days to fulfil his obligations, that’s all I’m asking for. (I’m) not taking exception to council, that they can do insofar as they want with appointments, but I’d hope you’d give the decency to at least give the chair the opportunity to close his office down, pass files over, work with the CAO to ensure there’s a good transition at Metro Vancouver into the chair’s position, because your actions are removing the chair of Metro Vancouver,” said Harvie.

Binder then seconded that amendment and council voted in favour, but not before some back-and-forth between Kruger and Harvie on what Harvie does in his role as Metro chair.

Among other duties, Harvie said he is scheduled to go to Amsterdam with other board members to review the diking system and report back to the board.

“So, you’re asking the opportunity to go to Amsterdam?” asked Kruger.

Harvie responded the trip with other board members has been scheduled for some time. He also told Kruger, “Seeing that you’ve been travelling to Phoenix and travelling in a number of situations… back east with regards to TransLink, I mean you’ve been travelling…”

Kruger answered, “I’ve not been to Amsterdam.”

In a statement following the meeting, the other council members thanked Harvie for his service to the community but stated, “This decision reflects council’s loss of confidence in the Mayor’s ability to effectively represent the city’s interests at Metro Vancouver.”

Johal introduced new policies including one in which all events hosted by the city “utilize consistent branding and that no other branding including branding centered around any member of council or mayor be permitted without council approval” and “council approval be required for any special events including sports or cultural summits, funding announcements, economic breakfasts or groundbreakings moving forward.”

Also, effective immediately, all official correspondence by the mayor is to be reflective of the will of council and, among other changes, no additional staffing support be provided to any member of council or the mayor without a formal resolution from council.

No individual member of council will be permitted to direct staff to edit or remove council reports from upcoming agendas without a formal resolution and all members of council are to be provided with the same information from staff including information on upcoming community events.

Harvie is in his second term as Delta’s mayor with the last municipal election seeing his entire Achieving for Delta slate elected to council.

The statement by the rest of council also noted, “Tonight, council also passed a series of seven motions that reflect a concerted effort to restore the ability for the collective will of council to be appropriately executed by Delta staff. Over the past months, it has become increasingly apparent that these changes were needed to uphold the interests of Delta taxpayers and ensure proper governance.”

In a recent separate development, Paramjit Singh Grewal, former general manager of economic development and stakeholder relations in the mayor’s office, filed a notice of civil claim in B.C. Supreme Court alleging wrongful dismal and defamation.