Tuesday, January 26, 2010  
   Volume 80 - Issue 4 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“As I’ve been route planning to the west it’s been really exciting. It’s a very scenic part of the trail and I’m excited for the community to use it.”
- Jenice Smith  
- on making the community   
trail a reality   

 

2 councillors opposed to motion, say it restricts their freedom
 
Local council has committed to not holding private meetings, based on recommendations from George Cuff in the recent corporate review. Two councillors voted against the measure.
CAO Gordon Lundy brought the recommendations forward as part of the ongoing task of addressing the issues in the corporate review. Councillor Gary Taje made a motion that council resolve not to hold private meetings with other members of council, not to engage other members of council or administration in email exchanges unless all councillors are copied on each message, and that council refuse to participate in any decision-making process outside of council meetings.
Council passed the motion by a 5-2 vote, Councillors Ian MacLeod and John Salus opposed.
Councillor MacLeod said that the Municipal Government Act has no specific rule about private meetings, regardless of what the intent might be. He said that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms gives him the right to talk to anyone he wants, and that he will continue to talk to other councillors if he has questions.
Councillors David Cole and Dean Ward asked for clarification before voting yes. Councillor Cole asked if it would be considered a private meeting if he bumped into another councillor at the hardware store and something council-related came up in their conversation.
 
Mayor Irwin said that it would not, and that the resolution applied to councillors setting up meetings where not all councillors were invited.
Councillor Ward asked if they could still ask questions of administration when they needed to. Mayor Irwin said that they could, so long as all other councillors were copied if it was an email exchange.
"This goes to the heart of what broke us apart as a council," said Councillor Taje. "This is not taking rights away from anyone." He said that it simply keeps the business of council before the public, and not behind closed doors.
He said that the perception in the community is that the decision-making process previously went outside of council chambers. Whether perception or reality, he said, it made council dysfunctional and put its members into bad situations.
Councillors should simply keep all other councillors informed about what they are doing related to the municipality, said Councillor Taje. He said that councillors should not arrive at a council meeting and be surprised with an issue that some members know all about.
Most other councils live up to this intent, he said, and it is simply a matter of not taking your agenda or beliefs and discussing it with other councillors outside of a council meeting.
Councillor MacLeod asserted that he has the right to talk to anyone he wants and assemble in any place he wants. Councillor Salus did not give a specific reason for voting against the resolution.
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   Volume 80 - Issue 4 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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