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Belleville councillor makes motion to open up a committee

Kelly McCaw working from home in an filed photo by Amanda Lorbetski. [1]

Kelly McCaw working from home in an archived photo. Photo by Amanda Lorbetski.

By Candice-Rose Gagnon [2]

Councillor Kelly McCaw [3] has concerns with the flow of information at City Hall in Belleville.

At the heart of her concern is membership on the Mayor’s Implementation Team [4].

The mayor’s implementation team is a made up of two council members and the mayor.

Team meetings are attended by the director of engineering and development services, the deputy director and city engineer, the director of recreation culture and community services, the project coordinator of Build Belleville [5] office and some then some project managers for Build Belleville says city clerk Matt MacDonald [6].

The public meetings are held in the Build Belleville site on the first and third Thursdays at 7:30 am according to the city’s website [7].

Councillor McCaw received warning emails after she attended a meeting on Feb.20. The emails stated, “it would probably not be a good idea to attend any more [MIT meetings].”

That was because both her and Councillor Mitch Panciuk both attended the meeting according to the meeting’s minutes.

When there are five council members in the same room at the same time, it is considered a quorum.

Quorum means “half plus one or the majority of council in one room, at one time, any time [of day],” said MacDonald.

Even though the meetings are public he says, council cannot attend as members of the public.

“If [councillors] attend meetings they can’t take their council member hats off. As much as they may want to, they don’t attend meetings as members of the public. They attend meetings as council members,” he said.

This is because when a quorum happens it could be considered in the public eye as a council meeting and there are different rules administratively.

“If the business of the municipality is being discussed there is the real potential for a challenge of council…that they are breaking procedural rules related to open meetings of council,” said the clerk.

McCaw has introduced a motion asking that the Mayor’s Implementation Team be opened up to more council members.

McCaw said she made the notice of motion after a problem at a recent budget meeting.

Councillor Paul Carr agrees with McCaw that there needs to be a better flow of information between the MIT and the rest of council.

“During our last budget deliberations, there was a item about CPR rail bridge [8] at the Dundas Street West intersection. There was a report that went to MIT regarding increase in funding for that project, and council actually didn’t have that report.” he said.

MacDonald said there are both municipal and Ontario wide regulations and rules when it comes to committee and council meetings. Belleville has it’s own guidelines for council meetings, and that would also have to be amended if McCaw’s motion is approved.

McCaw’s motion will be discussed at the next regular council meeting on Mar.23.