It’s probably a moot point, since he’s resigning from the post. And as far as we can tell, Jordan Study hasn’t violated any ethics rules in holding onto the Pemberton mayor’s job for more than seven months since being sworn in as West Vancouver-Sea to Sky’s representative in Victoria.
But the rookie MLA should have expected to come under fire for “double dipping” — taking annual salaries of $25,000 as the part-time mayor of a town of 2,200 and some $116,000 as our MLA (with $15,000 of the latter for his role as legislative secretary to the Minister of Transportation). In fact, his was the first Liberal MLA’s name cited this week in a statement issued by the New Democrats, one of four Grit legislators to be so mentioned.
After last May’s election, Premier Clark said MLAs who held municipal posts “can take an unpaid leave of absence, and then submit their formal resignation in January when it wouldn’t likely cause a byelection.” Sturdy has now done the latter but not the former, making him the NDP’s top “double-dipping” target.
To his credit, Sturdy has been open about his intentions from the start. And knowing what he’s done previously — helping run a business and serving as mayor along with the occasional stint as a ski patroller — we’ve never doubted Sturdy could handle the workload.
Still, his seeming inability to see the potential for split allegiances under the circumstances leaves this writer incredulous. Does he really think, as he has said, that “the two roles are complementary”?
Ultimately, there are issues on which he cannot wear both hats. If, for example, he had been asked during the past seven months to take a position on the Garibaldi at Squamish proposal, how would he have answered: as mayor of Pemberton, or as our riding’s MLA? It’s clear that at least from an economic standpoint, the interests of Whistler-Pemberton and of Squamish on this issue diverge in a big way. Had the “appropriate ministers” asked for the local MLA’s views on GAS, Sturdy’s answer might have made for interesting theatre.
Don’t know about you, dear readers, but this writer believes taxpayers have a right to expect that when we’re paying someone $116,000 a year, we’re getting someone committed to representing our interests not 80 or 90 per cent, but 100 per cent, of the time.
— David Burke