Media are reporting that Vision Vancouver’s Geoff Meggs is quitting his position on City Council to become the NDP premier-designate John Horgan’s chief of staff.
This leaves Vision Vancouver with six of eleven seats on Council. We expect a by-election to fill his seat. Reporter Mike Howell wrote that it will be within three months. Charlie Smith of the Georgia Straight makes some guesses on who will run and possibly win and lose.
Meggs was the lowest vote-winner on City Council in the 2014 civic election. While on Council, he earned a reputation of being highly loyal to his political party and its corporate and union donors, and is believed by many to be the whip within Vision Vancouver who ensured that all members voted as a solid bloc on Council. He has not been especially liked by community groups and seen as ruthless or uncaring toward many neighbourhood concerns surrounding development. Rising up to the powerful position as chief of staff to the premier of the province, will he be able to soften his highly partisan thinking and transform into a true public servant, a servant of the people? Will others around him be able to compensate for his ruthless nature when it comes to policies and decisions of a ruling coalition?
A few key points of media reports:
- NDP announced today that City of Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs has become NDP premier-designate John Horgan’s chief of staff. [We cannot find any sign of the announcement on Twitter or the NDP website.]
- Meggs has reportedly resigned his seat on city council. He previously served as premier Glen Clark’s director of communications during the 1990s NDP government, was a founding member of Vision Vancouver, and worked as the executive director of the B.C. Federation of Labour. Most recently, he co-chaired the NDP election platform development committee. Meggs has local government experience on critical files like building more affordable housing stock and working closely with municipalities, said Carole James.(Vancouver Sun)
- The NDP also announced former B.C. Institute of Technology president Don Wright will serve as deputy minister to Horgan and head of the public service. That is the top bureaucratic position in government, and acts as the middle person between the non-partisan civil service and the hyper-partisan premier’s office. (Vancouver Sun) [CHW comment: Good communication between Meggs and Wright will be crucial.]
- Meggs’ departure leaves Vision Vancouver with six seats on the 11-member council. The NPA holds three and the Greens, one. Even if Vision were to lose the byelection, the party would still have a slim majority going into next October’s 2018 civic election. (Vancouver Courier)
- According to the Vancouver Charter, city council must appoint a chief election officer “as soon as practicable” after a vacancy on council. That officer must then set a date for the byelection, which must be on a Saturday and no later than 80 days after the officer was appointed. …That appointment could occur when council holds its next regular meeting July 11. The byelection could cost upwards of $1 million, although the Courier was unable to confirm estimates from the city clerk’s office before deadline, or a date for the byelection. (The cost of the referendum to gauge whether Vancouverites wanted to host the 2010 Winter Games was roughly $600,000.That occurred in 2003). (Vancouver Courier)
Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs to become premier’s chief of staff. Vancouver Sun, July 4, 2017. http://vancouversun.com/news/politics/vancouver-councillor-geoff-meggs-to-become-premiers-chief-of-staff
Councillor Meggs resigns, becomes Horgan’s chief of staff: Geoff Meggs’ resignation triggers byelection (Mike Howell, Vancouver Courier, July 4, 2017): http://www.vancourier.com/news/councillor-meggs-resigns-becomes-horgan-s-chief-of-staff-1.20910832
By-election to fill council seat vacated by Geoff Meggs could leave lasting mark on Vancouver politics (Charlie Smith, July 4th, 2017)
While it’s still up, here is his bio as Councillor on the City of Vancouver website today.
Councillor Geoff Meggs
Councillor Geoff Meggs was first elected to Vancouver City Council in 2008, and re-elected in 2011 and 2014.
He is committed to working for a city in which eliminating homelessness, creating affordable housing, and expanding quality public transit are priorities, and believes that if you work in Vancouver, you should be able to live in Vancouver.
An award-winning journalist and author, Councillor Meggs’s career has combined senior leadership positions in government and the labour movement.
As a journalist, he was the first to sound the alarm about the threat of salmon farming to wild salmon stocks and later exposed waste and mismanagement in the health care system.
He served as director of communications in the Office of the Premier under Premier Glen Clark, and later served as director of communications and executive director of the BC Federation of Labour.
As executive assistant to Mayor Larry Campbell, Councillor Meggs worked on Vancouver’s 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bid; the fight to win major new investments in buses and rapid transit; the creation of Vancouver’s supervised injection site; and many other community issues.
After leaving the BC Federation of Labour in 2008, he has provided strategic communications services to a range of clients through his own firm, Tideline Communications.
He has served on the boards of the Georgia Strait Alliance, the False Creek South Neighbourhood Association, his strata council, and several daycares.
Born in Ontario and raised in Toronto and Ottawa, he has been a resident of Vancouver since 1976. He lived in the Fairview and Strathcona neighbourhoods before settling in False Creek, where he currently resides with his family.
Appointments to Council committees
Chair, Standing Committee on City Finance and Services
Appointments to advisory boards and committees
City of Vancouver Public Housing Corporation
Vancouver Civic Development Corporation
Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee
Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability
Appointments to regional, provincial, and national bodies
Director, Greater Vancouver Regional District Board (Metro Vancouver)
Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Relations Committee
Metro Vancouver Housing Committee
Metro Vancouver Performance and Procurement Committee
His Financial Disclosure Statement in PDF on that page shows “NA” (not applicable) for most items, including assets, liabilities, and real property.