Maple Ridge’s top economic development officer Sandy Blue shouldn’t run for council in another city, and should pick one position or the other, says Coun. Corisa Bell.
“I don’t how she can possibly have the time,” to do both, Bell said Monday.
She was commenting after learning last week that Blue is running for council where she resides, in the City of Abbotsford.
“To support her taking time away from her position currently, I don’t see how that would be a benefit to Maple Ridge.”
Bell said council knew nothing about Blue’s decision.
“It was not discussed with us, whatsoever,” Bell added.
“I just really feel the public needs to know. They’re the ones who are paying the bills. They’re paying her salary and benefits. I just want to Maple Ridge is getting what they’re paying for.”
Bell hopes Blue resigns from her Maple Ridge position, if elected in Abbotsford.
Blue, however, intends to do both and doesn’t see a conflict between her job as economic strategist for Maple Ridge and city councillor for Abbotsford.
She pointed out that often one region or city can offer economic development attractions that are not duplicated in another area or city, so there’s less chance of direct competition.
Blue is part of the AbbotsfordFirst slate, which has three values: leadership, accountability and respect.
It wants Abbotsford to be “a desired location for businesses and families alike.”
Blue says economic development initiatives followed by Maple Ridge aren’t even being considered in Abbotsford, which has an airport, border crossing, and university.
“Given what I do and the experience I have gained from this job, and I look at it from the place I live, and there are so many things that are not even on the agenda. I think that’s too bad.”
She would keep her Maple Ridge job “for another couple of years.”
As Maple Ridge’s manager of strategic economic initiatives, Blue made $107,676 in 2013. If she’s elected as one of eight councillors in Abbotsford, she’ll make about $37,500 a year.
A Maple Ridge councillor makes $42,500, even though Abbotsford has a larger population – 139,000 compared to Maple Ridge’s population of 77,000.
Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin doesn’t see a conflict if Blue is elected.
“People may perceive it to be one. She’s done a great job promoting the North Fraser, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Mission. All three of us have benefited from her efforts,” he added.
“I don’t doubt Sandy’s ability to do the work. We get many hours of effort far beyond what she’s compensated for.”
Daykin said people have right to a life outside their normal job, to represent their citizens.
“If successful, there may be other decisions that have to be made. That comes into play … the day after the election.”
Daykin won’t ask her to resign, and said anyone looking for economic advice in Abbotsford likely wouldn’t even talk to city councillors.
The mayor only learned of Blue’s decision after receiving a press release issued last week.
He doesn’t think Blue had a duty to tell council.