Newly elected Penticton councillor says newspaper job won’t create conflict of interest

According to preliminary byelection results released by the City of Penticton, James Miller has been elected to city council. Courtesy: Facebook

After being elected to Penticton city council in a byelection held Saturday, James Miller said he’s humbled and grateful to his supporters.

Miller said he plans to remain on as the managing editor of the Penticton Herald but doesn’t believe it will create a conflict of interest.

“We have a system in place, and I will not be writing or editorializing on city council for the next 15 and a half months, nor will I discuss coverage with the reporter who will be covering it,” he said.

Read more: City of Penticton preliminary byelection results announced

Miller said he will not be in the newspaper’s building physically on days with regular council meetings.

“There are going to be very strict guidelines in place, and if I once violate them, I’m fired in disgrace, and I really don’t like that option,” he said.

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Miller said he did consider stepping aside from the newspaper for the rest of his term as a councillor.

“But financially, I need to work for another four years, and I just don’t think that’s possible,” he said. “If I am to seek re-election, we’ll be having a serious conversation with the ownership and my bosses, and I will maybe [be] in the place where I have to select one or the other.”

Read more: Penticton, Kelowna cancel Canada Day festivities

When asked if was he was worried that the public might perceive a potential conflict of interest, Miller responded, “Perception is always a thing. But last night 1,666 people trusted that I stick to my word.”

As for his main priorities going forward, Miller said he doesn’t plan on introducing a series of notices of motion.

“City council’s agenda comes before them, and then you read the information and study and gauge public opinion,” he said. “I believe that I’m capable based on my experience of doing those things.”

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