In order to be transparent Council has directed city manager to bring in an expert

By Pepper Parr

February 16th, 2022



Transparency is a word that gets used by every member of the current city council – frequently.

They pride themselves on being transparent, but saying you are transparent doesn’t mean you are.

In the past several months many have asked why there are so any Closed Sessions of Council- and why next to nothing gets said by Council when they come out of a Closed Session.  At least two council members want the address of the property made public when they go into Closed to discuss property matters.

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte has been consistent in her efforts to bring more transparency to the business of city Council.

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte has sort of led this effort for more in the way of transparency.  She has said that she would oppose going into Closed Session when it was proposed and indeed today she did just that.

While the matter they were going into wasn’t crystal clear – it may have had to do with the possible purchase of the Bateman High School from the Board of Education.

Elsewhere in the meeting there was a bylaw passed to authorize a request for the issuing of a debenture by the Regional Municipality of Halton for a Confidential Land Acquisition.

There was no mention in the bylaw what the land acquisition was nor what the amount of the debenture was; the Region handles all the raising of loans for the municipalities.

There is no evidence that the two matters are related.  Many feel the public has a right to know what the money is being borrowed for and how much is being borrowed.

Outside legal Counsel was involved in this Closed Session that lasted about 25 minutes and when they voted to implement the decision that was made Stolte voted for it,  which suggests Stolte was Ok with the decision that was made.

Stolte has been a strong advocate for more information in the hands of the public.

But when there was an opportunity to comment in Open Session – not a word from Stolte.

Councillor Nisan wanted the city manager to immediately contract with a law firm for advice on going into Closed Session procedures.

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan, who doesn’t have much in the way of a getting along well with Stolte relationship (they differ on many procedural issues), put forward a motion that directed the City Manager to immediately contract with the law firm Aird and Berlis to guide the city on its procedures and policies on the matter of Closed Meetings.

There is a procedure for a citizen to complain about Closed Sessions of Council.  Mayor Meed Ward said it was all set out on the city web site.

The sticking point would be appear to be with the city legal department.  They appear to be asking that a Session be Closed and the Clerk goes along with it.

I don’t recall this Council or any other for that matter, being opposed to going into a Closed Session

Mayor Meed Ward then made this comment.  “There are times when I work quietly behind the scene”.

THAT by any stretch of the imagination is not a definition of transparency.

Much more to this story.



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