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Divisions remain; council balks at mayors initial request to amend agenda
by Mike Robinson
ERIN - Things got off to a rocky start last month’s town council meeting with a motion to amend the agenda for the Dec. 20 meeting.
Councillors have complained recently about adding items to the agenda without have preparation time for them.
Mayor Lou Maieron read a resolution to amend the night’s agenda to add an item regarding procedural items.
After a show of hands, that motion was denied.
It got worse after that.
Maieron said it seemed strange since it was the exact same wording that was proposed by councillor Barb Tocher at the end of the Dec. 6 council session.
Tocher said she made no such motion.
Maieron said, “It makes things a little bit difficult. It’s unfortunate that things are going to be that way.”
He asked for a recorded vote on the issue.
Councillor John Brennan pointed out the vote had already been taken.
Maeiron said a recorded vote can be sought at any time.
The vote to amend the agenda was defeated 3-2 with Maieron and councillor Josie Wintersinger in favour and councillors Tocher, Brennan and Deb Callaghan opposed.
Shortly after as council considered its previous meeting’s minutes, the issue came up again.
Maieron said that under notices of motion, the minutes read - none.
Maieron said that according to a Wellington Advertiser, a notice of motion was made.
Tocher clarified that while her comments occurred at the point of the meeting between notices of motion and the adjournment, she had not presented a notice of motion.
“I just made a comment to you,” she said.
At that time, Tocher had recommended council no longer alter its agenda at the beginning of the meetings.
Maieron asked what heading the comments were made under.
Tocher said they happened after the notices of motion and before council adjournment.
Maieron said during the discussion, he had agreed to take Tocher’s concerns under consideration.
Tocher said what was being discussed was if council should amend the council minutes.
Those minutes were then accepted as originally presented.
Under business arising from the minutes, clerk Kathryn Ironmonger stated she had been requested to provide documentation on an item from a closed session of council.
She asked that council consider adding that item to a closed session at the end of the night’s meeting so that item could be dealt with and a decision made about if that report could be brought presented as a public document.
Additionally, she said there was a time sensitive issue involving potential litigation, that would need to be considered in closed session as well.
Maieron asked if she “was asking council to amend the agenda, which we just said we wouldn’t do, to add two items to the closed session portion - to which there were no materials provided in advance.”
Tocher said the matter was time sensitive, according to the clerk.
“Procedurally, how do we deal with this,” Maieron asked. “We just said we wouldn’t amend the agenda.”
Ironmonger said she was simply looking for direction from council.
“Council has the ability to either agree to allow those discussions to take place in closed session or, if not, the items will come at the next council meeting.”
Maieron said that is playing with technicalities, and earlier that night council took the position that the agenda would not be amended.
Tocher moved that council move into closed session later that night to deal with the items arising from business arising or the time sensitive legal matter.
Maieron said he just wanted to have consistency on how business happens at council.
He said that since council had a recorded vote on whether to amend the agenda earlier in the meeting, he sought a recorded vote this time as well.
“I just want to show how consistent we can be.”
The vote was unanimous to allow the items to be added.
January 6, 2012
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