There are several changes to Collingwood’s procedural bylaw proposed. They will come up for voting on Monday night. Most are dry procedural stuff that will likely improve or smooth the normally byzantine process.
But one section in particular troubles me: 4.3: allowing the CAO to call special meetings of council by himself:
Special Meetings of Council
The Mayor and/or CAO may, at any time, summon a Special Meeting of Council on twenty-four (24) hours written notice to the Members. Upon receipt of a written petition, hard copy or digitally, from a majority of the Members, the Clerk shall summon a Special Meeting on twenty-four (24) hours written notice to all Members and the media for the purpose and at the time mentioned in the petition. The only business to be dealt with at a Special Meeting is that which is listed in the notice of the Meeting. Special Meetings may be open or closed as provided in the Municipal Act, 2001.
This strikes me as just a cheap way to undermine the mayor’s authority. As I’ve been told, the mayor has already vetoed staff attempts to call special meetings this term. Now council is being asked to give the CAO permission to do it on his own without the mayor’s approval.
If approved, it just shows how the cabal is working against the interests of the community and our democracy. It opens the door to all sorts of future abuses of power.
WHY should any bureaucrat have that authority over elected officials? No restrictions, no explanations are provided, it’s just giving the CAO more, unbridled power. This is a violation of the whole democratic ideal.
Since when do staff get to tell democratically elected representatives what to do? When Collingwood Council gives them that power.
Its a travesty and an abuse of power to allow this to happen. It is the opposite of every notion of accountability. No one who cares about openness and transparency could possibly vote for this change.
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