Three-term Vancouver city councillor Geoff Meggs was named chief of staff to premier-designate John Horgan, in one of three appointments to his leadership team announced Tuesday as the New Democrats prepare to take power.
Mr. Meggs, who was first elected to council in 2008, has already resigned from that position. He will bring with him to Victoria experience working on issues including housing and transportation. He previously served as executive director of the BC Federation of Labour and as former premier Glen Clark's director of communications in the late 1990s.
It was difficult to resign from city council, Mr. Meggs said in an interview, "but when the [premier-designate] calls to ask you to work on issues that are close to your own heart, about affordability and the province at large, it's pretty hard to say no."
Mr. Meggs said there were brief conversations about the possibility of him taking the role of Mr. Horgan's right-hand man both before and after the May 9 election, but nothing was certain until very recently.
He said he anticipates a warmer relationship between Vancouver and Victoria under an NDP government.
"I think it will improve not because of any role that I play, but because John has made a commitment to issues that are important to people across the Lower Mainland," Mr. Meggs said, citing transit and housing affordability as the key issues.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson was unavailable for an interview on Tuesday but in a statement described Mr. Meggs as an "effective and thoughtful" councillor who is "immensely qualified' to serve as the premier's chief of staff.
Under the Vancouver Charter, council must now appoint a chief election officer. The chief election officer must then set a date for a by-election to fill the vacancy on council no later than 80 days after the officer's appointment.
Regardless of the by-election's outcome, Vision Vancouver will retain its majority on council.
B.C.'s Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon asked Mr. Horgan to form government last Thursday after Christy Clark's Liberals fell in a confidence vote, ending 16 years of Liberal rule. The transition of power is expected to take another two weeks.
Meanwhile, the NDP also named former British Columbia Institute of Technology president and Central 1 Credit Union CEO Don Wright as Mr. Horgan's deputy minister of executive council, cabinet secretary and head of public service. Mr. Wright had left his job at BCIT in early 2013 for the prospect of being deputy minister in Adrian Dix's NDP government.
"I took the position on knowing full well there was a risk that the NDP would not win the election," Mr. Wright told The Globe and Mail following the NDP's 2013 defeat.
"I happily took on that risk. Sometimes you have to be prepared to stick your neck out a little bit."
Outgoing chief of staff and BC NDP campaign director Bob Dewar will become Mr. Horgan's special adviser. Mr. Dewar is the brother of former NDP MP Paul Dewar, and served as chief of staff and campaign director to former Manitoba premier Gary Doer from 1999 to 2003.