Open and trans­par­ent…

Nor'wester (Springdale) - - Classified - Cory.hurley@thenor­

“That is the de­bate that goes around the mo­tion, but the mo­tion should stand on its own legs,” she said.

A mover and a se­cond for mo­tions are to be recorded. Most times, any coun­cil mem­ber who ob­jects to the ap­proval of a mo­tion will ask for the min­utes to re­flect their vote, she noted. Some­times their ra­tio­nale for that ob­jec­tion is noted.

The de­ci­sion on how much de­tail is pro­vided falls upon each in­di­vid­ual coun­cil and its staff. Pol­lett said most would just pro­vide a record of the de­ci­sions made. Par­tic­u­lar re­ports or pub­lic doc­u­ments would be part of the min­utes pack­age avail­able for pe­rusal at town halls.

“Ev­ery coun­cil is a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent, but if you were to ask for the doc­u­ment, if it was part of the min­utes and ap­proved, it should be avail­able,” Old­ford said.

There are de­tails of agenda items or mo­tions that con­tain sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion that must not be made avail­able for pub­lic view­ing. The re­cently changed Ac­cess to In­for­ma­tion Laws now limit that to ex­am­ples where mak­ing it pub­lic could do harm to cer­tain peo­ple, for ex­am­ple.

Re­leas­ing in­for­ma­tion that could iden­tify a per­son, or their per­sonal in­for­ma­tion re­mains a prob­lem­atic area, ac­cord­ing to Pol­lett.

“That’s ac­tu­ally been a re­ally dif­fi­cult thing for a lot of mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties be­cause they are re­ally not sure now what they can and can­not re­lease,” he said. “As you would ex­pect, they are go­ing to err on the side of cau­tion.”

Old­ford en­cour­ages all coun­cils to be as open and trans­par­ent as pos­si­ble, rec­og­niz­ing there is a bal­ance with re­leas­ing per­sonal or busi­ness in­for­ma­tion that can be detri­men­tal or harm­ful.

A stan­dard for re­port­ing coun­cil min­utes across the prov­ince would be dif­fi­cult, she said, par­tic­u­larly be­cause of the sizes and re­sources of some mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

“The one-size-fits all may not nec­es­sar­ily work,” she said. “Seventy-five per cent of our mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties have one or fewer em­ploy­ees, which means they prob­a­bly have a part-time clerk that comes in and scrib­bles down some min­utes and pays some bills.

“You can have some gen­eral guide­lines of what should be in­cluded in your min­utes, and we en­cour­age coun­cils to adopt what process they are go­ing to use. That is the big­gest thing.”

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