Tuesday, April 13, 2010  
   Volume 80 - Issue 15 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“You’re rezoning a piece of land that I think is critical to wildlife.”
- Ross MacDonald  
- on rezoning land for   
an RV park   

 

A Fragile Lens- Nathen Gallagher
Council –– all seven of them –– is back to old tricks.
In the past, I have criticized Councillor Dean Ward for holding up the mill rate process by voting against consideration of third reading, thus creating the need for an extra meeting to pass a mill rate that is clearly going to pass regardless of his opposition.
The year after I wrote this criticism, to his credit, he voted in favor of consideration for third reading even though he again disagreed with the overall budget. It was still recorded that he disagreed, but he allowed the mill rate to pass without the need for an extra, delaying meeting.
This year, I have to level my criticism at Mayor Irwin and Councillors Gary Taje and Larry Mitchell. They disagreed with the final shape of the budget (as reported on the front page of this issue), and voted against consideration of third reading.
I understand that they opposed the final changes to the budget and did not want to support it. However, just as Councillor Ward did several years ago, by voting against consideration of third reading, all they did was delay the final passing of a mill rate bylaw that is clearly going to pass regardless of their opposition.
While a special meeting will not be held on its own night this time around, given that the final reading will happen on a committee night when all councillors are present anyway, this still causes delays to the taxation process and more work for municipal staff.
In my opinion, these three could have approved consideration of third reading, but still voted against third reading itself, having their opposition reported by the media. The delay is needless.
 
I would also like to level some unrelated criticism at the other four councillors in our group of seven.
All of council has committed in an open meeting not to meet privately with each other about council business, but as a longtime observer of council, it seems to me that this is still taking place.
During the debate on the budget and mill rate, Councillor Cole, in response to the CAO’s prior assertion that overtime would be needed if planned positions were cut, made a motion not to allow overtime this year. He listed two exceptions –– for emergencies and for staff taking part in meetings as part of their regular duties.
Councillor Ward apparently misheard part of this, and raised his hand. “Weren’t there some exceptions in there?” he asked. Councillor Cole noted that he had already listed the exceptions.
Councillor Ward, fairly obviously, knew that there were supposed to be exceptions as part of the motion to deny overtime, and spoke up when he mistakenly thought Councillor Cole hadn’t listed them.
How would Councillor Ward know there were supposed to be exceptions unless he knew in advance that the motion was going to be made?
As per usual, this motion to deny overtime was passed by a quick 4-3 vote, with essentially no discussion by anyone.
This has, for some time, been the thing I have disliked most about this council. Even though it makes for shorter meetings, the lack of discussion, which indicates that some important matters are settled before the meetings even begin, does the community that elected them a disservice.
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   Volume 80 - Issue 15 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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