Summerland’s new mayor has made a bold move on his first day in office.
Summerland council took the oath of office Monday night with Mayor Doug Holmes making his first motion to have a deputy mayor work side-by-side with him for a four-year term.
The responsibilities will be much larger than an acting mayor’s role and will come with an extra $600 a month stipend.
A deputy mayor, he explained, has specialized duties on an ongoing basis.
Holmes put forward the motion that council unanimously passed. Incumbent coun. Erin Trainer will be deputy mayor for a four-year term from 2022 to 2026. Trainer has been on council for eight years and has held roles with the regional district.
The term will be reviewed in two years.
Most municipal councils have acting mayors who rotate monthly.
Holmes explained that this new position will provide a level of continuity for Summerland. The deputy mayor will also hold him accountable as a mayor, he added.
It will also allow for someone in leadership available to answer important questions when they arise should he not be available. He also thinks it’s imperative to have someone younger holding the deputy mayor role.
“We saw with the election that people voted in experience. I can’t help but wonder what happens when all of us boomers ride off to the sunset together and leave the voters with no experience on council,” said Holmes in his first address as mayor.
“It will benefit the community to have a deputy mayor who is competent and has experience. We are fortunate that we have someone who is young and experienced. Having worked with Ms. Trainer for eight years, I have every confidence in her,” said Holmes.
Trainer said she will be taking on the new role with gusto.
“My biggest reason for supporting this role is that it provides strong and consistent backup leadership, just like an assistant captain for hockey or a co-pilot in flight,” said Trainer.
“Having two leaders makes us stronger. I’m ready to step up. Mayor Holmes and I don’t agree on everything. We have great respect for each other and have a common vision to improve the quality of life in Summerland.”
Most municipalities appoint acting mayors who rotate on a monthly basis. This term, Penticton also has chosen to create a deputy mayor role but for a shorter duration.
Among the first orders of business for mayor Julius Bloomfield included appointing Campbell Watt as deputy mayor for the next six months. Coun. Helena Konanaz will serve in the role afterward for half a year.