Delta Council candidate Sylvia Bishop is asking Fabian Milat to rescind his nomination for either council or school board prior to the Oct. 21 withdrawal deadline.
Milat, a three-term Delta school trustee, announced Oct. 5 he was running as an independent for both offices, and intends to sit on council and school board simultaneously if elected.
“When someone runs for an elected office, they need to be 100 per cent committed to doing that job,” Bishop said in a press release. “Being a councillor is a full-time job by itself, and the people of Delta deserve nothing less. I don’t think running for two positions demonstrates the commitment that people expect from their elected representatives.”
Milat told the Leader that asking a candidate to drop out of the election race is “counterintuitive to the democracy that we have.”
“I’m in this to the end,” he said. “I believe that this is a positive thing that I’m running for both school board and council and I think I can bring a lot better communication to both levels of government.”
Bishop said Milat would be a welcome addition if he dedicated himself to one position or the other.
“Mr. Milat needs to choose—he should be running for one or the other, but not both,” she said. “If he chose not to run for re-election as a school trustee and simply seek a council spot, I would welcome him and his ideas in the race.”
She said she has heard concerns about the fact Milat would collect two publicly-funded salaries simultaneously.
“The people I’ve spoken to while knocking on doors view the move as opportunistic,” Bishop said. “They think it’s so he can collect two taxpayer salaries.”
But in his own community rounds, Milat says he’s heard the opposite.
“I’ve knocked on doors since June and people have been saying that they’d like to see me both on council and school board.”
Milat recently received his B.C. teaching certificate and is taking classes at UBC. He says his school trustee salary is the only pay cheque he currently collects.
“Most people have full-time jobs when they’re either school board trustee or a councillor,” Milat said, adding that he is no more opportunistic than a candidate who works full time and intends to hold office.
If elected to both governments, Milat said he will put his teaching career on hold.
“I’m going to be focused on council and school board and that’s my intention when I win those positions,” he said.