Nanaimo mayor Bill McKay says he won't step down over allegations he has been a bully, despite a letter signed by seven city councillors asking him to do just that.

The issue was brought up at a heated council meeting Monday, where both councillors and members of the public spoke about what they claim is the mayor's bad behaviour.

It's unclear exactly what bullying comments the mayor may have made, but councillor Wendy Pratt told CBC on Wednesday the mayor has not been supportive of the city's chief administrative officer or his colleagues.

"There have been quite a few challenges with the mayor's actions over the last few months ... He's making a lot of derogatory remarks about councillors and the CAO in public," Pratt said.

Pratt said councillors are also calling for the mayor to resign because he's difficult to work with. She alleges the mayor has stopped communicating, and doesn't attend meetings.

"To me the letter asking for his resignation was a wake-up call."

Mayor Bill McKay said Wednesday he doesn't deny he's had a strained relationship with the city's chief administrative officer and his colleagues, but he says he doesn't understand the level of their anger. McKay said he also feels he isn't being heard.

"Communication works both ways," said McKay. "If I bring something forward that is of grave concern to me, I would expect they would at least listen."

McKay said he won't resign, and his colleagues, city staff and members of the public will have to work together to get through the following two years before the next election.