Election 2014: Mayoral race draws veterans

NANAIMO – Former mayor Gary Korpan and incumbent Mayor John Ruttan announce they'll run for the seat in November.

Former Nanaimo mayor Gary Korpan isn’t pulling punches in the fight for the mayor’s seat, calling council a fiasco of fighting, quasi-political parties, and its leadership and guidance “all over the map.”

Korpan, one of the longest-serving municipal politicians in Nanaimo’s history, threw his hat into the mayoral race on Wednesday along with incumbent Mayor John Ruttan.

According to Korpan, the city needs teamwork and an end to a “spending spree.” He is promising to launch a full audit of city operations and organizations that receive subsidies from local government, as well as look into a clawback for $4.6 million committed to the Port Theatre’s studio project.

“People are sick and tired of wasteful spending and I am going to stop the spending spree that’s been going on with this council,” he said.

Korpan served on city council for 24 years, including five terms as mayor before losing to Ruttan in 2008. He also had an unsuccessful run for council in 2011, landing 15th in the vote count.

This year Korpan is looking to return to the top job, pointing out he has a record of negotiating with senior levels of government and he’s not afraid to make decisions.

He also vows to open up the issue of the departure of former city manager Jerry Berry and other senior staff and says if tax money was used to cover abusers he is going to “sue those bastards and we’re gonna get the money back to the taxpayers.”

Ruttan announced he’s seeking a third term as mayor. In a statement to the media, he said the previous six years have him well positioned to continue the work of council and that this is an exciting time for Nanaimo with interest from foreign and local investors.

“I am anxious to continue working with council and staff to ensure that our new growth is managed in a careful and prudent manner,” he said. “I am truly appreciative of all the support that I have received over the last six years and assure you of my sincere interest to provide the best municipal government to our Nanaimo taxpayers in the coming years.”