Wellington County sends policy back to committee so everyone can see it

County council will revisit a policy recom­men­ded by its administration, fin­ance and personnel committee because only a few councillors had an opportunity to see what it says.

The policy stems from work­­ers at the Hillsburgh trans­fer station asking councillor Lou Maieron to leave the pre­mises when he handed out pam­phlets there last month.

When council con­sid­ered the administration finance and personnel committee re­com­mendations at its meeting on Feb. 25, Maieron asked for a sep­arate vote on the issue and also explained why he and Erin councillor Ken Chapman had been handing out pamphlets.

Maieron said 65% of Erin residents commute to jobs out­side the municipality and a lot of them do not read local Newspapers, so he handed out a brochure stating his reasons why county council had closed the Hillsburgh transfer station.

He said when he was asked by staff to leave, he did so and stood on the road for six hours handing out the brochure.

“I was asked to leave; I left,” he said. What bugged Maieron was when he attempted to find a copy of the proposed policy “respecting unauthorized acti­vities on county properties” in the committee minutes, it was not there. It was also not in the county agenda package.

Maieron asked that council defeat the recommendation be­cause “most of us don’t know what it says.” He added, “If I want to talk to my residents on a public road, I will.”

Committee chairman Chris White suggested the issue be deferred.

Warden Joanne Ross-Zuj apologized for the confusion. She said the policy had been a handout at the committee meet­ing and she thought it would have automatically been in­clud­ed as part of the county coun­cil meeting agenda.

Councillor Walter Trachsel seconded Maieron’s motion, because, “I don’t even know what it says,” while councillor Lynda White sug­gested sending the issue back to the committee.

Councillor Bob Wilson said council can’t vote to deny a motion, so it should be sent to the committee. He  added, “There are more county prop­erties than landfills and transfer stations. The problem arose be­cause Lou Maieron was on county property handing out information that was errone­ous. It did irritate the people [working] at the transfer station.”

Maieron did not dispute Wilson’s assertion that the information was incorrect.

After several minutes of procedural wrangling, Ross-Zuj apologized again, and said council should see the policy. She added, “It’s not just about Lou Maieron.”

Maieron said he would not object to having the issue de­ferred, and agreed that such a policy would apply to all county properties. Council agreed to defer the issue until it is considered again by the committee.

The policy, a one page document, states, “No un­authorized use or activities shall take place at any county properties or facilities at any time within the County of Wellington.”

The rationale for that is stated as, “Unauthorized use or activities means no person(s) their personal property, or equip­ment be permitted on any county property or facility with­out approval. Examples of unauthorized use includes elec­tioneering, soliciting, demon­strating, protesting, etc.

“The County of Wellington does not allow activities sup­porting specific political candi­dates or parties, circulation of petitions, or disseminating pam­phlets in support of an in­di­vidual’s or group’s particular point of view. Unauthorized use of these facilities can potentially disrupt services causing the customers, staff, or visitors to become at risk, which is not acceptable.

“Unauthorized use can also cause health and safety and security concerns and increase the general liability to the County of Wellington.

The policy also outlines how staff are expected to deal with people breaking the pol­icy:

– staff will explain that the activity is not permitted and will politely ask the person(s) to leave the site;

– if the person(s) will not leave, then staff will politely ask again and inform the person(s) that further action will be taken; and

– if the person(s) will not leave, then staff will contact the police for assistance.