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Despite request from council, Port Moody mayor suggests he won't go on leave amid sex assault charge

FILE - Port Moody Mayor Rob Vagramov speaks at a news conference after he was charged with sexual assault, on Thursday, March 28, 2019. (CityNews Vancouver) (CityNews)

Mayor Rob Vagramov suggests in an email to Tri-City News he won't go back on leave of absence amid sex assault charge

Councillors voted on Tuesday to ask the Port Moody mayor to step aside until his legal matters are resolved

Vagramov has denied the claims against him, but went on a voluntary leave in March after he was charged

PORT MOODY (NEWS 1130) – Despite being asked to go back on a leave of absence by his own councillors because of a sexual assault charge, Port Moody’s mayor is showing no signs he’ll do so.

In an email to the Tri-City News, Rob Vagramov suggests he’s instead focused on getting back to work.

Councillors voted 4-3 on Tuesday to ask Vagramov to step aside until his legal matters are resolved.

“I take all these comments, especially what we hear here at public input, to heart and into consideration,” he said after the vote, however it appears he’s made a quick decision.

In his e-mail to Tri-City News, the embattled mayor suggests the motion was political.

“Folks ask me what council has actually accomplished in the past year, and sadly there is not much to point to in the past six months due to this partisan stonewalling on issues that the public spoke loudly on,” he wrote. “I am pleased that at last night’s meeting we were able to get city hall back on track.”

During the sometimes emotional meeting, councillors heard from dozens of people — many who said Vagramov should step aside again until his legal matters are resolved.

Vagramov went on a voluntary leave in March after he was charged, but returned last month, saying lawyers were working on avoiding a trial.

He has denied the claims against him.

Some councillors have said Vagramov’s return to council has been disruptive to “good governance.”

“Nothing has been regular since your return,” Councillor Diana Dilworth said on Tuesday. “Our last council meeting was fraught with angst and emotion. This theatre was filled with residents concerned, yelling, crying and shocked at what was unfolding.”

However, other councillors like Hunter Madsen said the timing of the motion didn’t make sense, and that bringing in a new acting mayor would “generate transitional chaos.”

-With files from Taran Parmar and Jonathan Szekeres