Friday, February 13, 2015

Council procedures continue to create confusion and spark discussions at City Hall

Councillor Thorkelson speaking on the
topic of Council procedures on
Tuesday night
Heading towards the end of February, it seems that some of Prince Rupert's Council Members are still not sold on Mayor Lee Brain's adjustments to the usual procedures of the Regular Council sessions.

The issue once again became a bit of a flash point towards the end of Tuesday night's council meeting, as Councillor Barry Cunningham attempted to outline his concerns regarding what he believes is an unfair situation facing those who park at the Rushbrook Floats parking lot.

Things turned to the bureaucratic when the Mayor recommended that the topic was perhaps something that should be placed on the agenda for consideration at the next Council session of February 23rd.

A suggestion that Councillor Cunningham had some concerns over, observing that those parking in the Rushbrook lot would then be faced with getting ticketed until that next session can address the issue.

From that conversation the topic morphed into another in what seem to be ongoing discussions into the Mayor's interpretations of the procedures in place for council sessions and the desire for Council members to retain their period of the meeting for comments and observations.

Councillor Cunningham reinforced his thoughts on the topic, highlighting how the opportunity to raise issues and relay community concerns is one that Council members have made use of frequently during his time in municipal government.

Councillor Thorkelson also joined into the debate, reinforcing some of her previous concerns related to procedure from previous sessions, echoing many of Councillor Cunningham's thoughts on the need for Council members to have time at the sessions to offer up their reports and observations.

She observed that some of the items that Council members will want to raise won't be something that can wait the two weeks to be added to an Agenda for the next meeting.  She added that she doesn't want Council to be in a position where they restrict themselves from bringing up issues of concern to the community.

She suggested that it was a topic that Council needs to discuss further, with Council to review the procedural bylaw and the interpretation that the Mayor is taking from it.

Councillor Mirau had a few items to add to the discussion as well, suggesting that it was worth Council's time to review and modernize it to reflect how this new council wishes to do business.

He also provided some thoughts on the nature of the setting of Agendas for the council sessions and how it is worth Council's time to update the procedural bylaw.

The Mayor outlined how he wasn't trying to limit discussion or access to the session by Council members, but was following the rules in place at the moment.

He observed that he has no concerns regarding Council members wishing to outline their comments at Council, and that Council might wish to address the procedural issue at their upcoming Strategic planning session.

You can follow along with the conversation from the City's Video Archive page from the two hour sixteen minute mark through for the most part to the end of the Council meeting fifteen minutes later.

For more items related to City Council Discussions see our Council Archive page here.

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