City ponders transparency from in-camera meetings

City staff suggested a re-ordering of the agenda while Coun. Sharie Minions proposed a break.

  • Feb. 12, 2015 3:00 p.m.

The public might soon be able to find out what happens at in-camera city council meetings if city council votes to approve it.

Following a council directive at the Jan. 12 meeting for a change to the procedures bylaw to incorporate a process for the release of in-camera resolutions, staff drew up a report detailing how in-camera information could be released.

If passed, the council procedures bylaw no. 4860 would allow for portions of the in-camera meetings and the information provided for them to be released to the public following a majority vote by council.

While drawing up the report, city staff also took the opportunity to recommend a change to the order of council procedures and business.

“Sometimes our meetings do extend fairly late, beyond 10 p.m. and some of the more substantive issues are currently discussed later in the agenda, [such as] bylaws and reports,” said city clerk Davina Hartwell.

The proposed amendment would move unfinished business and bylaws closer to the start of the meeting and separate staff and council reports. Staff reports would be moved up in the agenda of the meeting while council reports would remain near the end.

Reports from in-camera would near the end of meetings following council reports.

Councillor Sharie Minions asked for the council procedures bylaw to be amended further to add a scheduled 10 minute break halfway through council meetings.

While mayor Mike Ruttan pointed out that council has the flexibility to take a break when necessary without adding it to the bylaw, Minions said that she would prefer it in the bylaw.

“For our working minds it’s always going to be a good idea to have a 10 minute break.”

Council read the amended bylaw three times and can pass it following a public input period.

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