Mayor wants overhaul of in-camera
(November 29, 2011) Halifax – Mayor Peter Kelly today called on Council and HRM staff to change the way business is conducted so that in-camera meetings become the exception, rather than the rule.
“As elected officials, we are responsible to residents and they are, quite rightly, demanding more openness, transparency and accountability in government,” Mayor Kelly said. “We need to make changes to the way we oversee the public’s business and, as Mayor, it is my responsibility to bring this forward.”
The Mayor said he has made it clear to senior City Hall officials that he wants the process overhauled so that all items appear on the regular agenda, instead of some being routed automatically to in-camera.
“I want to avoid in-camera issues, except by motion of Council,” he said. “The onus is on us, as elected officials, to hold frank and open discussion as much as possible.”
He added that Council needs to deal with as much business as possible out in the open, unless there is hard evidence that to do so will cause harm to the municipality. “Only under exceptional circumstances should we consider going in-camera,” he noted.
Mayor Kelly said anything involving critical issues, for example union contract negotiations or security matters, could be dealt with by confidential staff reports which would be released, once the matter has been concluded.
“Public debate is the very air that democracy breaths,” said Mayor Kelly. “We must open our windows as wide as possible to achieve that kind of ventilation.” /l*30*
Contact: Mayor Peter Kelly 490-4010