Council here has rejected any amendments to its procedural bylaw.
At the Feb. 3 Erin meeting, councillor Jeff Duncan proposed a variety of changes to the procedural bylaw. However, after receiving recommendations from town clerk Dina Lundy, council chose to keep the bylaw the way it is at the March 3 council meeting.
There were five areas for consideration.
The motion suggested delegations have presentations earlier in the meeting than in the current bylaw.
Lundy stated in her report the business addressed before the delegations is meant to set the tone of the meeting and make new delegates more comfortable with the flow of the meeting before their presentations.
“It is worth noting that there has never been any feedback received by the clerk’s department that suggests this is an issue, but on the contrary, I have received feedback that this process is welcomed by the public,” she wrote.
But, Lundy did make it clear she will move delegations up in the agenda if it is necessary.
from the minutes
Duncan’s motion suggested there be a place in the agenda for council to address any issues they had with the previous meeting.
Lundy said that is not a viable option because the minutes are an official record of the meeting.
“The issue with having this on the agenda as a regular item is that councillors are consistently revisiting matters from the previous meeting that have already been settled,” she wrote. “If the item is important enough to revisit, then the proper process to do so is through a notice of motion, or reconsideration.”
She said revisiting issues decided without notifying staff would put staff at a disadvantage because they would not be adequately prepared to answer questions.
Minor and major delegations
Duncan suggested in the motion delegations be designated as minor and major. Minor delegations would not require a presentation and be given five minutes, and major delegations would need a written presentation and be given 10 minutes. Duncan has since withdrawn that portion of the motion but said in an email he will continue to explore alternatives to make it easier for people to come before council as a delegation.
Lundy said people who come to council are concerned about the issue they have.
“The perception of minor delegations could be that they are less important than those classified as major delegations, and puts the clerk in a difficult position to make this determination,” she said.
Lundy said it is important for delegations to present documentation for their presentation. There is no specification for what that entails but at least one or two paragraphs, point form and hand written is required.
Notice of motion
Duncan asked that the notice of motion be explained and later said he removed any motion for change.
Lundy said a notice of motion can be presented verbally or in written form at the meeting where it is introduced. As long as it gets a seconder it will be put on the following meeting’s agenda for discussion.
The motion asked that the provision limiting the number of reconsiderations allowed for a motion be removed. Duncan later stated in an email that he was removing that provision from the motion.
Lundy said the current rule states, “No question shall be reconsidered more than once within 12 months following the date that a motion to reconsider was ratified.”
She said it should be a rare occasion when council chooses to reconsider a decision it has already made, but understands new information might change a councillor’s position in some cases.
Lundy said that could also open council to mistrust from staff and the public, because it would seem council will constantly be second guessing its decisions.
If reconsideration is necessary, Lundy said it’s possible to have a motion to waive the rule.