New Catholic trustee pushing for some change
Newly-elected Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education trustee David Leahy wasted no time in challenging the status quo in his second full public meeting as a board member.
Leahy introduced four separate notices of motion for the next public meeting on Dec. 12. These included the elimination of the $65 monthly subsidy trustees get for cellphone usage, the requirement for trustees to now submit written reports for public dissemination from all their committee work and board-related meetings, and he suggested usage of a “Catholic Education” category in every board agenda package to explicitly highlight efforts the district is making in its schools in that respect.
And finally, Leahy introduced a notice of motion to require all district employees take a “Violence and Verbal Abuse Risk Assessment” questionnaire to help the board address any potential concerns about violence or harassment in the workplace.
None of these items were discussed at the board meeting on Tuesday night; as they will not be voted on by trustees until the next public meeting in December.
Leahy also made a subsequent motion which would eliminate the closed-door policy at the board’s monthly “Committee of the Whole” meetings so they would now be open to the public and the press. Committee of the Whole meetings usually take place prior to the public meetings, and allow the trustees more time to discuss, in depth, specific areas of concern in district policy or practices.
Leahy said his motivation for wanting to make these meetings public was about creating greater accountability and transparency at the board level. Leahy received support on this change from fellow trustee Peter Grad.
“We have been closing the door for years, but officially it is a public meeting,” he said. “We would still go in camera for the usual things anyway. I wouldn’t be opposed to making it known to the public these Committee of the Whole meetings are not in camera sessions.”
The other trustees also appeared to be in agreement on making the change, and Grad suggested first reading on Leahy’s motion be held on Dec.12.
MHCBE trustee David Leahy used his second full meeting as an elected member to push forth an ambitious agenda for greater transparency in the board’s public dealings.