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Port Moody mayor Vagramov will return to leave of absence

Port Moody mayor, Rob Vagramov, is going back on a leave of absence until his sexual assault charge is resolved. The announcement comes after numerous calls from the council for the embattled mayor to step aside. Sarah Macdonald has the latest.

Port Moody Mayor Rob Vagramov will be returning to his leave of absence while he’s dealing with a sexual assault charge in court.

Vagramov made the surprise announcement  to Port Moody city council Tuesday night.

At Tuesday night’s committee of the whole meeting, Vagramov switched seats with Steve Milani, who assumed acting mayor duties.

Vagramov was originally asked to take the leave in March after the charge against him was laid.

The mayor stoked controversy in September after returning to council more than five months after voluntarily stepping aside to focus on the serious charge.

On October 8, council voted in favour of Vagramov returning to a leave of absence, at which time he said he’d take it under consideration, adding nothing legally compels him to step aside from his mayoral duties.

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On October 11, he informed the Port Moody Police Board that he would not be attending meetings, voting or making any decisions amid the sexual assault allegation.

In a statement to Global News Tuesday night, Vagramov says “There is no legal requirement for me to be away from my elected role, but today I am exercising my discretion to go back on leave without pay until I am cleared of the charges held against me.”

He adds that “… some people out there won’t be happy until they see my head on a stake, but for the vast majority of reasonable folks out there: After taking time to filter out the partisan noise, I hear your input, I value it, and it does play greatly into my decision making here at City Hall.”

Vagramov expects his leave of absence to last about 3 to 4 weeks.

His next court appearance on the sexual assault charge is November 13th.