Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Haldimand "Our Council Needs to Be Educated"

This article by Karen Best really gets me going. It is not how Karen writes or what she writes about, actually the complete opposite. Karen writes it the way it is!

I have a real problem with Haldimand County Council. They just don't seem to understand the Municipal Act when it comes to what is allowed behind closed doors. This is not the first article that Karen has written that has "quotes" from Council Members "admitting" that a lot of what is discussed behind closed doors should be in the public forum.

In January of 2008 the Municipal Act changed as to allow investigations into "alleged" closed door meetings that should in fact be in the public forum.

When I ran for Council in 2006 one of the ways that I educated myself was by reading the Municipal Act. This is something that "ALL" Council Members will be very familiar with, so they have no excuse for going behind closed doors when they know it is "illegal" and wrong. But one has to prove that this is taking place.

Well maybe someone should just take the following news article and attach it to a "formal" complaint to the County. Council is "admitting" in some cases that 85 percent of what they are discussing should in fact be in the "open". One has to wonder why they are announcing to the "public" that they are not following the rules!

Councillor Grice has it right. In fact recently I had the opportunity while I was in the Mayor's office to ask Councillor Grice about his voting "no" to going into "closed sessions". I asked him if he was just voting "no" to go behind closed doors because that was one of his "election promises". His response was "no". So to me his answer is telling me that Council should in fact be discussing the issues that Councillor Grice is voting against in the "open".

Here is Karen's article and I will highlight the lines that really tick me off!

Dunnville Chronicle (ON)
Haldimand, Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Council moving to more open discussions

KAREN BEST CAYUGA - Haldimand County council chambers may remain open more often due to the persistence of members who believe some discussions belong in the public forum. At the April 14 council in committee meeting, Coun. Craig Grice said residents should hear presentations given by the Ontario Provincial Police. Even if they are saying nothing is new, the residents know that first hand, he added.

For two years, OPP have updated council members at every meeting. Occasionally, Inspector Dave McLean made a few comments before the meetings went in camera. Since he was elected, Grice voted against all closed sessions with police, provincial and federal politicians and negotiators.

"We should still go forward in open and public regardless what the questions are," he said about police presentations. Coun. Lorne Boyko said police officials can start in open and then go into closed if necessary. He too has argued that many more discussions should be held before the public.

While all members acknowledge a desire to have open sessions with police, it will be up to the inspector to decide if some information must be offered in private, said Coun. Buck Sloat.

As a result of these discussions, council reached a consensus to hear OPP reports in the open portion of meetings. As council was about to go into a closed session on April 14, Coun. Tony Dalimonte questioned matters scheduled for behind door review. An economic development and planning question was asked in public but was to be answered in private, which concerned Grice.

At least 85 per cent of what is there for planning should be out in the open, said Boyko."Six Nations should know in general what Haldimand County's position is,"he continued. "The issue was discussed several times. This is a strategy that's being planned and council should discuss all but 20 per cent in the open. I don't see this as something that's legal.

"But planning and economic development general manager Craig Manly did. He said recommendations in the report were based on legal advice and related legal implications can affect the county's future.

Sloat agreed saying discussions should be held in private to determine what can come out. On an item related to security of municipal property, Grice argued that budget implications are a public matter.

Dalimonte wanted to know why another issue related to security was a closed meeting item. County clerk Janis Lankester said that due to the nature of the company, the request will be discussed in closed and the decision will be made in open. All the company's meetings are confidential, she added.

All issues raised by council members at that meeting were discussed behind closed doors except the police update. OPP did not attend.

Thanks Karen for a great article. I do however just love the last comment that "all issues raised by council members at that meeting were discussed behind closed doors".

Well there you have it!

So what have we all learned here?

In my opinion Haldimand County Council needs to be "investigated", as they themselves admit that they "should" be discussing more in the "open", and then what do they do? They go behind "closed doors"!


  1. I can tell you Donna what we have all learned.

    This current council is arogant, self serving and really feels that they are untouchable, and they are!

    They are slapping us in the face admitting that they should be more open. Yet they close the doors.

    As you and many are saying or have said, 2010 can not come quick enough.

    I can see a complete turnover of council and that is what this county needs.

  2. I agree with the above poster. What a piece of work we have here in Haldimand. I can imagine what the upper level of governments have to say about Haldimand. Maybe that is why we never rec'd any money for the recovery package. We would be better split up. half with Niagara and half with Hamilton. But maybe that is already in the works for 2010.

  3. All heads of staff in Haldimand County are from out of town,and council most of the time are in outer space,...other municipal councils laugh at Haldimands council.

  4. Thank you for your comments.

    I do believe that Hugh Hanley is a resident of Haldimand County.

  5. Don't count on a complete overhaul of Council in 2010. Mayor, possible, Grice, maybe, but the rest of the class clowns will get in with little opposition. They have always played parochial politics, and it keeps getting them elected, because they ALWAYS put their constituents ahead of the greater good of the entire county.
    I just can't see a change coming other than Caledonia and the Mayor. It would be nice, but I'm not holding my breath.