City council holds first every remote meeting - lasts nine minutes - passes everything.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 24th, 2020



It was a little bumpy at the start.

“Keep a cell phone charger on hand” said the city Clerk

Then “we hear you”.

The “..the complicating factor”.

Then “someone is still”

All just voices before the Mayor appeared on the screen and called the Special Meeting of Council to order.

Burlington was about to hold its first ever meeting of council remotely with the Mayor, the Deputy Clerk Jo Anne Rudy and Debbie Horvath along with Dave, the audio visual specialist tucked away in the equipment room.


Mayor Marianne Meed Ward at the first remote meeting of City Council – necessary due to COVID19.

The three in the Council Chamber, sitting about 10 feet apart, stood to sing the National Anthem while the six members of Council took part from their remote offices – which were in the homes of the members of Council

The Mayor then read the Land Proclamation and moved on to the first order of business.

The City Clerk and City manager Tim Commisso were also offsite, taking part remotely.

The city manager didn’t say a word.

The Mayor introduced an amendment to amend the Procedural Bylaw.

She had Councillor Kelven Galbraith move the motion, Councillor Lisa Kearns seconded it.

The Mayor read the motion into the record and handed things over to the Clerk, who was taking part remotely;  he reminded the Mayor to ask Councillors if they needed any clarification.  She did asking Councillors to let her know if they were OK with the motion.

sharman on air

As each Councillor was voting a graphic appeared on the screen with the On Air symbol in the left hand corner.

Each Councillor, taking part remotely said either Yeah or Yes – it was difficult to hear exactly what Councillor Stolte said – her voice didn’t come through all that well, if they needed any clarification. Councillor Bentivegna was loud and very clear.

Then the Clerk went through the process a second time to take a recorded vote.

The vote carried unanimously.

They then voted to receive and file information items – no one said just what those information items were – that too was carried unanimously.

Nine minutes into the meeting they adjourned. Done.

They met the letter of the law. Earlier in the meeting the Mayor said that this was the way things would be done in the immediate future.

The second Special meeting of Council to deal with the Burlington Hydro need for a larger line of credit was to take place a little later in the day.

That issue might call for some actual debate – it will be interesting to see how that works out.

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