RE: March 6, 2012 Council Agenda
The pdf version of the full agenda package is available on the town website at:
An Html version is at:
Comments on a few interesting items in the Council Agenda Package
Agenda item 4.4 Personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees AND Litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board AND Advice that is subject to solicitor client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose (Blog)
The lawyer’s advice on whether the town should be paying for “the lawsuit” should be in an open meeting, for the public to hear. Solicitor-client privilege is insufficient reason for going into closed session. Tim Ryall of Municipal Affairs in January 2011 cautioned council that just the fact of a lawyer present is insufficient reason for going into closed. He indicated that it is necessary that going into closed must be in the public interest. In this case the public interest is to have the discussion in open. Having the discussion in “open” would expose the reasons some councillors and some staff are using to justify the use of big taxpayer dollars to pay legal fees. It would especially expose the false notion that “bill 168” requires the town to pay anyone’s legal fees associated with a civil suit based on a claim of “slander”. Having the discussion in open would encourage a more just decision regarding the blog.
Agenda item 4.5 Advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose (BOWMAN19-2012 Canadian Civil Liberties Association)
This is like 4.4 above. Why is this in closed? The letter from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association to the town is already in the public domain. It would have been on schedule “B” if the undemocratic councillors and associates hadn’t scrapped schedule “B”. The discussion of the letter should be in open session. It is the public’s business.
Agenda item 7.1 DPRA-Strategic Plan Presentation
The March 6 draft strategic plan is a big improvement over the previous two drafts. Of note is that because of resistance by Sauble residents, the Economic Development Committee was not able to get the $70 million dollar Sauble sewers project into the strategic plan.
In addition, many of the proposals in the previous draft that would have given even more taxpayers money to the tourist industry have been removed.
But there are still some proposals in the March 6 draft that fail the five principles of decision making, namely:
Principle #1 – conformance with the Municipal Act
Principle #2 – conformance to ethical standards
Principle #3 – conformance to oaths of office
Principle #4 – economical soundness
Principle #5 – economical fairness
Council should receive the report only, and then put it out for serious discussion in the summer when seasonal residents can better participate.
Agenda item 8.8 CBO10-2012 Previous Septic Re-Inspection Programs
In a previous commentary I recommended that the town use the March 2011 Municipal Affairs Guideline for Septic System Inspections. Nothing in the agenda package convinces me of anything different.
Agenda item 8.10 CBO13-2012 Private Rental Cottages
Report CBO 13 is interesting, but it doesn’t speak to Mr. Stolp’s concern (rental of “bunkies”) as it was supposed to.
Agenda item 8.19 CLK22-2012 Unfinished Business-Proposed Street Light Policy
Street light decisions should not be made on the basis of rule of majority (of nearby residents), as proposed in the report. Street light decisions should be based on what makes sense.
Agenda item 9.1 Unfinished Business-Snow Fence at Sauble Beach (July 12, 2011)
This item should be deferred until summer, when more Saube seasonal residents can participate.
By-law in agenda package but not on agenda
On pages 455 to 465 of the “pdf” version of the agenda there is a by-law that appears to be a modification to the committees appointments by-law. It appears to be there by accident. The by-law is not on the agenda and as such must not be discussed.
The bylaw proposes to change the appointment by-law wording from:
BRUCE COUNTY COUNCIL
Mayor John Close, Councillor Jay Kirkland (alternate to Mayor)
BRUCE COUNTY COUNCIL
Mayor John Close, Councillor Jay Kirkland (alternate to Mayor, Deputy Head of Council)
The original text is wrong, as TSBP council does not have a mandate to appoint anyone to Bruce County Council. Not the mayor, not an alternate, not anyone. Only the Minister of Municipal Affairs can do that. The revised text is better than the original, as the relevant minister’s order requires council, in its first meeting, to appoint not an “alternate to Mayor”, but rather a “Deputy Head of Council”.
To get it right, the heading “Bruce County Council” should be replaced by “Deputy Head of Council” and council must appoint a councillor as “Deputy Head of Council”.
The deputy head of council position can be an important one, as the appointed person will at times sit at County Council and help make decisions that could have a huge impact on the residents of TSBP and the County. Council should appoint someone who takes his or her oath of office (consider the public interest) seriously. So council should not appoint hall-of-shamer Jay Kirkland as “Deputy Head of Council”. Or anyone else from the hall of shame.