Monday, December 11, 2017

New rule for MD of Pincher Creek council's interaction with public

Chris Davis - MD of Pincher Creek Reeve Quentin Stevick made an announcement at the November 28 public meeting of MD council, just prior to council going in camera (a private session). According to Reeve Stevick, he had been advised by lawyers while in Edmonton attending the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) convention earlier in November that taling with members of the public or the press while council was still in session was a concern. A normal process for MD council meetings is for council to take a short recess before going in camera. After the in camera section of the meeting is concluded the meeting again becomes public. During that recess it has previously been a norm for councillors, including the Reeve, to talk briefly with people in attendance.

"In the past, I made a policy of going around and thanking you individually for coming," said Stevick. "I and the rest of the council are no longer allowed to do that, as again, perception can be determined as reality. So I will take this opportunity on behalf of council to thank all of you for being here today."

Reeve Stevick also explained that anyone who wished to talk to members of council could wait until after the in camera session and following public finale to the meeting was concluded. "I don't know how long it will take today. The doors will open again, and we will deal with the in camera items in a public manner (after the in camera session) if there are some motions that need to be made, and you will obviously be invited back for that session."

"Even if we met one of you in the hallway or the bathroom (while council is still in session), that could also be construed as discussing things."

CAO Wendy Kay clarified that the interaction prohibition is only in effect when council is still in the process of having a meeting.  "you can contact them tomorrow."

Town of Pincher Creek Mayor Don Anderberg, when asked during a Town council recess, said informally that Town council has no plans to institute a similar policy.

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