As reported earlier (see link below), at Monday’s Committee of the whole meeting, Council was asked to approve a draft revised procedure for council meetings. The intent was to present it to a public meeting on January 28 looking for input. But Emily Chorley spoke for several on Council who wanted immediate changes – in particular, items that dealt with delegations and a question and answer period. Emily said that the proposed procedure was “moving in the wrong direction” and she would be putting forward 20 amendments to the document. She suggested that Council’s consideration of the document should be postponed until after the public meeting but Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin pushed ahead with a line by line review of the document so that it would be more in line with Councillors’ views.
Town Clerk Brent Larmer said that he would be using a Powerpoint presentation at the public meeting to explain the rationale behind the proposed changes.
Mayor John Henderson assured everyone that no changes would be passed until after the Public meeting.
From the beginning, Emily and others were clear that they were listening to what they heard during the election campaign and that there needed to be more citizen input – not less or limited.
Nicole Beatty was vocal on the need to have Q & A sessions more frequently than quarterly but John Henderson cautioned that meetings could get excessively long and exhausted councillors would not think as clearly. Brian Darling suggested there be a trial period. But in the end, Council voted that instead of quarterly Q & A sessions, they would be allowed after every Committee of the Whole with a maximum allowed of 5 minutes per question. They would be limited to subjects relevant to the agenda although staff would be present to possibly help with answers.
Council also agreed that the number of delegations should not be limited to 4 – or any other number.
Emily raised a number of other issues with the general idea that there should be minimum restriction on delegations but after Brent explained the rationale behind various clauses, there were no other significant changes.
Brent will incorporate the above detailed changes into a new draft that will be up for consideration at the public meeting.