Delegating at city hall: Rules of that game need some changes

By Pepper Parr

December 11th, 2023



People who delegate at city council have frequently had a concern with the way agenda items are placed on the Consent list.

Jim Thomson, a frequent delegator upset the Chair of a meeting and was escorted out of the Council Chamber. He is limited now to delegating virtually during which they at times have to cut his mike.

On a number of occasions recently the issue has been brought up.

Last week at the Env Standing Committee Chair Rory Nisan (Councillor for ward 3 – who lives in ward 2 said he “wanted to address the question about consent items with respect to delegations. Section 35.1 of the Procedural bylaw, which is the Bible Council has to direct how they conduct the business of the city.

Nisan has taken the position that 35.1 says:”Items that will be placed on the consent agenda include, but are not limited to those with no delegations where no discussion is anticipated, I informational items and routine matters.

Councillor Rory Nisan

Nisan then said: “As chair the way I read that, although it could be more elegantly worded, and we can revise, but it’s pretty clear that items placed on the consent agenda include but are not limited to those with no delegation. The fact that a delegation occurs does not mean it must be put on the taken off the consent agenda.

“That’s how I interpreted it. That’s how we’ll be interpreting it today. Committee always has the opportunity to overrule the chair.”

Nisan got the concern out into the open.  Sometime in the New Year we might see a change in the Procedural Bylaw; something that needs more than a few cosmetic changes.




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2 comments to Delegating at city hall: Rules of that game need some changes

  • Anne and Dave Marsden

    PS It’s not the rules that need changing its the decisions of Andre Marin (County Huron) and Paul Dube (July 7, 2023) that city staff and council need to pay strict attention to rather than have newbies to the game insist their take on by-laws etc. are the right ones. Strategy, Risk Team needs to pay attention it is going to cost us dearly when it becomes clear that our teenage grandchildren can better understand the city’s rules of operation than most of our elected councillors and current clerk..

  • Anne and Dave Marsden

    Nisan’s position that is contrary to past practices where the Clerk would take it off the Consent Agenda when we chose to delegate on a consent item is another issue for the Ombudsman to address as part of our complaint in terms of Clerk non-compliance with Municipal Act and Procedure By-laws. It is the role of the Clerk to advise the Council on what rules apply not the other way round Rory. As occurred at the Committee chaired by Kevin Galbraith.
    Municipal administration
    227 It is the role of the officers and employees of the municipality (includes SRT)
    (a) to implement council’s decisions and establish administrative practices and procedures to carry out council’s decisions;
    Municipal Act – Clerk
    228 (1) A municipality shall appoint a clerk whose duty it is,
    (e) to perform such other duties as are assigned by the municipality. 2001, c. 25, s. 228 (1).

    Procedure By-law
    7. Clerk
    7.1 It is the role of the Clerk to:
    a) carry out the responsibilities of their roles as described in section 228 of the Municipal Act;

    Those writing the legislation and the procedure by-laws understood the Clerk had years of experience in giving advice rather than an elected member who is entrusted with the position of Chair but betrays that trust when he believes he has the power to control how council business is conducted and sets the Procedure By-law aside.