Fun and games and a city council rule book with a rule that is far from clear; will Meed Ward really be shut down?

 By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. April 15, 2013   City council meets in its committee setting this week.  Monday they meet in the afternoon as the Community Services Committee and in the evening they meet as the Development and Infrastructure Committee.  Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward is neither the Chair or the vice Chair of either of these committees – so she gets to talk as a normal member of council.

The last time city council met – as a full Council the Mayor had a problem with the amount of time Meed Ward was talking and, after being alerted by the Clerk, interrupted Meed Ward to tell her she was basically talking too much and outside the time limit permitted by the city’s Procedural Bylaw – the Bible on what council members can and cannot do.

At the time Meed Ward was stunned.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward works the phone the way few Councillors do; manages to overspend on her postage budget, filled her voice mail box the first week she was at city hall and has now been found to have over spent on the amount of time she speaks. There is just no end to this woman.

We asked her after the Council meeting if she had any comment and she replied she would be following up on what the Mayor and the city Clerk had done.

Burlington’s city council and committee hold what they call “pre-meeting” at which they go over the agenda and discuss the likely flow of events.  If you thought everything happened naturally at either Council or committee meetings – you are indeed gullible.  Every politician prefers to control the agenda – which to some degree is what the pre-meets as they are called are about.

We asked Meed Ward a few questions via email and got the following responses:

Was there a pre-meet before the Council meeting?

Yes. There is a pre-meeting for every committee & council meeting to discuss the flow of the agenda. Only the chair/vice-chair, clerk and senior staff attend those meetings. In the case of council, the mayor, clerk (Angela) city manager (Jeff fielding) at minimum would be there and perhaps others.

If there was did you attend?

No. Council members do not attend any pre-meeting except one in which they serve as a chair/vice-chair. So, for example, I attend the Budget and Corporate Services committee pre-meeting with chair Councillor Taylor, but not any of the other committee or council pre-meetings. Raises a good point though – there is technically no “vice chair” of council. There is the rotating deputy mayor. In theory the D.M. could attend the pre-meeting. Hasn’t come up before. I’m deputy mayor for April. Interesting.


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