CONTROVERSIAL CLOSED MEETINGS REPORT RELEASED
At the request of Get Concerned Stratford, an investigation of Stratford City Council’s secret (in-camera) meetings has been conducted by the Closed Meetings Investigator. The report was released this morning.
Stratford, October 20, 2022
Get Concerned Stratford is now finally in receipt of the Closed Meeting Investigation into meetings from January 2020 to June of 2021. While the original complaints covered 146 meetings the investigator limited his scope to 56 meetings.
All the agenda items in all 56 meetings illegally hid the nature of the discussions from the public. In addition, 28 agenda items were illegally discussed in camera, and should have been discussed in a public meeting. Another 10 agenda items used the wrong exemption in the act, though the investigator found that it would have properly been in camera under another exemption. And on 8 occasions, the discussion strayed beyond what was cited in the agenda to issues that should have been discussed in public.
Clearly, this council played fast and loose on many occasions with the rules. To any councillor who suggests that they opposed the in camera discussions, we note that there were no motions by any councillor to discuss them in public session.
The investigator cannot impose a penalty for these actions.
“We’re glad that the report has come out before the end of voting,” said Sharon Collingwood, a member of Get Concerned Stratford. “We hope it will serve as a good starting point for improving Council’s behaviour. We understand and fully support the idea that there must be occasional in-camera meetings to conduct some aspects of financial negotiations, but it’s essential for the City to conduct most of its business in public, if we are to get the best deal for our tax dollars.”
The City has now posted the report on its website: access it here.
Media coverage of Closed Meetings Investigator Report
Stratford Beacon Herald, October 20, 2022. “Second Report finds Stratford council regularly broke closed-meeting rules.” by Chris Montanini
StratfordToday, October 21, 2022. City staff, council should complete open meeting training: Inspector, by Paul Cluff.
StratfordToday, November 15, 2022. City to prepare new procedural bylaw for new council. by Connor Luckza —Following investigations into improprieties via reports presented to council about in-camera meetings, recommendations are being made to the incoming city council, with more to come
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