Monday, May 30, 2011

Over the Hill . . .

...or top. I was surprised, but in agreement with Councillor Hill's request to have Executive Committee agendas published.

There is established criteria for what should be discussed in closed committee meetings, that being personnel issues, real estate, contract negotiations, etc. It is necessary to keep these discussions in closed sessions until such time as decisions have to be made. However, it is up to committee members to challenge items that do get placed in committee that do not appropriately belong there.

Having said that, it is difficult to monitor when a committee member challenges an agenda item and the majority overrides the challenge. The committee member is now in a dilemma of participating in the discussion or leaving the meeting and blowing the whistle on other members. Whistle blowing does not make for good working relationships.

Committee members are also subject add-ons to the agenda, generally brought in by administration. If council members agree to the publication of the agendas then they will have to ban add-ons or be prepared to re-publish the new agenda. Publishing the agenda may be a way to eliminate those last minute add-ons or items that should not be in committee.

The bigger problem is trying to keep the discussion in committee. Most of these committee meetings leak information like sieves. A member is almost better off making their comments in a public forum and having a committee colleague pass on their version of the comments.

The debate on this will be very interesting and where support will be for this change.

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