In what would normally be a mundane task of choosing committees, things got a little awkward at City Hall last night.
While determining who would be on each committee for 2017 at the Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee, Ward 4 Councillor Jesse Helmer was unusually blunt in his assessment of Ward 1 Councillor Michael Van Holst’s qualifications to chair the Civic Works Committee.
“My read on how well Councillor Van Holst did filling in as chair was that it wasn’t that good,” said Helmer. “And you know it’s difficult for me to say that, obviously I don’t like to criticize my colleagues, but I need to be honest about who I think would be appropriate and best suited to chair particular committees.”
Van Holst was one of a few councillors who had said they wanted to chair the committee and served as Helmer’s vice-chair on the committee for the past year.
In response, Van Holst wondered why Helmer didn’t offer him more advice over the past year.
“Perhaps he considered me also uncoachable, but I hope that isn’t the case,” said Van Holst. “I’ll certainly look to the councillor, if I’m elected, I will look to the councillor to speak in specifics.”
In the end, councillors voted Van Holst as the new chair of civic works by an 11-3 vote.
Following the meeting, Councillor Van Host tweeted a selfie with Helmer, Councillor Josh Morgan, and Councillor Virginia Ridley who were the only votes against him, saying, “In case anyone has the false impression that we are not all great friends.”
In case anyone has the false impression that we are not all great friends. pic.twitter.com/MKmnR9jJH6
— Michael van Holst (@mikevanholst) November 8, 2016