Vancouver Councillor Geoff Meggs to be John Horgan’s chief of staff
Three-term Vancouver City Councillor Geoff Meggs has resigned in order to take a job as Premier-designate John Horgan’s chief of staff.
Meggs was first elected to city council in 2008.
“When the [premier-designate] calls you and says I’d like you to work on the agenda that I ran on which included making B.C. more affordable, improving the province in so many ways — it’s very hard to say no,” Meggs said of the transition.
MLA Carole James, who speaks for the transition team, said the former councillor’s intimate knowledge of Metro Vancouver was a key asset.
“Having that mix is critical, no question.”
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In the wake of the announcement, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson issued a statement, thanking Meggs for his time on council.
“We have been fortunate to have Geoff Meggs on City Council over the last nine years, where he has been an effective and thoughtful City Councillor, demonstrating strong leadership on issues like affordable housing and transit,” Robertson wrote, calling Meggs “immensely qualified” to serve as Horgan’s chief of staff.
It won’t be Meggs’ first time inside the premier’s office. He previously served as communications director in the office of former NDP Premier Glen Clark.
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He has also served as executive director to the BC Federation of Labour.
The BC NDP made the announcement Tuesday, also revealing to other hires to key positions in Horgan’s inner circle.
NDP campaign director Bob Dewar, who had served as Horgan’s chief of staff in opposition, will stay on as special advisor to the premier.
And Don Wright will serve as Deputy Minister of Executive Council, Cabinet Secretary, and Head of the Public Service, replacing Kim Henderson who has been let go.
Wright was BCIT president until he left to be Deputy Minister to Adrian Dix in 2013. When the NDP lost that election, he moved on to become CEO of Central One Credit union, a position he will resign on Friday.
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A spokesperson for the Vancouver Mayors’ office said Meggs’ exit will trigger a by-election for his council seat.
Under the Vancouver Charter, the City Clerk must notify council of his resignation, which will take place on Jul. 11.
His departure will also leave big shoes to fill on council, said city hall watcher Mike Klassen, who noted Meggs was often the spokesperson for Vision Vancouver when the mayor wasn’t available.
“You know, the joke about Geoff was that he was the guy who would always do the media when there was bad news.”
Klassen added that Meggs was also the person who started the discussion about the removal of the viaducts.
“I think we remember Mayor Robertson asking for funding for that and it seems to me quite possible that the province will kick in for some of the removing of those viaducts that will cost a lot of money.”
But NPA Councillor and former colleague George Affleck says he doesn’t expect having Meggs in the premier’s office will change the city’s relationship with Victoria.
“I’m not sure if he would be allowed to have preferential treatment given to Vancouver, he’s going to have a lot of things on his plate,” Affleck said.
Despite Meggs’ departure, Vision Vancouver will retain its majority on Vancouver’s city council.
-With files from Liza Yuzda and Janet Brown
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