Bruno Tassone has resigned as Castlegar’s mayor, one week after he came under fire for a family trip during the holidays.
Tassone submitted a letter addressed to the city’s Chief Administrative Officer Chris Barlow and council on Wednesday, Jan. 7. The resignation is effective Jan. 9.
Tassone recently came under scrutiny for a decision to travel to Mount Baldy in the Okanagan over the holidays.
In the letter he states: “As humbled and honoured as I have felt to be a leader in this community, it has equally been difficult. When I embarked on my political journey, perhaps I was naive in thinking it wouldn’t affect me and my family in the ways it has … “
“It is with heavy heart that I choose to move on because I have come to understand that the work this community needs to do to create systemic and lasting change is far greater than my body and my mind can do.”
In his letter, Tassone says he has “been a target of harmful bullying behaviour along with outright disrespect within the systems I have operated in upon my arrival as councilman over six years ago.”
He does not name anyone specifically.
Castlegar News has contacted each city councillor to clarify if any others took trips over the holiday break. Councillors Dan Rye, Florio Vasilakakis and Sue Heaton-Sherstibitoff have all confirmed they did not travel. This story will be updated with those details as they are confirmed.
Tassone served on city council for four years before being elected mayor in 2018.
The city released a separate statement Friday afternoon that council and staff are processing this news and are committed to ensuring services are not disrupted, as well as restoring the city’s full council complement.
Council will now need to appoint a Chief Election Officer. As per the Local Government Act, a by-election will be held within 80 days of that appointment. Updates will be posted to the city’s website.
“On behalf of everyone in Castlegar, I want to thank Bruno for his leadership and dedication to his roles of mayor, councillor and city employee,” says Barlow. “His commitment to our community spans decades and positively impacted the city.”
Tassone is not the first politician in B.C. to come under fire for travel. Two councillors on Vancouver Island – one in Metchosin and another in Victoria – both have apologized for leaving the country over the Christmas break.
More to come …