Regional Council Breaks The Rules

Durham, ON, Canada / channel12

Regional council is on the hot seat right now, not for something that was said to the public… but what was said behind closed doors.

Regional council got its wrist slapped Wednesday after an investigation showed that two closed door meetings should have been held in public.  Now the region is taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

“We trained the staff, we trained the committee chairs, we trained council on what we can do in camera and we should be said in camera and what can be released when we come out.“

As we told you in December, members of the public were upset that council decided to hold discussions about the Durham York Energy Centre’s stack test behind closed doors.  It made members of the public leave, so they could go into closed session.

Wendy bracket was one of the members of the public who were kicked out that day.   “An apology is certainly in order, the public was sent out inappropriately and I want to hear that we are going to get that information that was kept from us even though it’s too late for us now.”

Amberly Gavel is a company that assists municipal governments in Ontario with closed meeting procedure investigations.  It said the closed door meetings breached the open meetings requirement of the municipal act. An issue that councilor Joe Neal says isn’t new to council.

“Hopefully this is a learning exercise for the region, but I can tell you that this isn’t the first time the concerns over a closed meeting process have been raised.”

Regional council is also in hot water for taking a break, or the lack of taking a break in last week’s committee of the whole meeting.

Councillor Amy McQuaid-England asked council in May to accept her request to have an hour break at the meeting so she could get her child, but an amendment made the break only 10 minutes.

“If we want young women in government especially if we want people with young children in government and we want them to be represented we have to recognize that they have duties to take care of their children.”

“We really probably should have broke for an hour, having said that I thought when it hit roughly about 5:30, we might be very close to the end of the meeting, so I think maybe that’s why some councillors did not support breaking for an hour.”

The next committee of the whole meeting is on October 5th where McQuaid-England hopes they will give her the time she needs to pick up her child.

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