Keep­ing priv­i­lege to a min­i­mum

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

Some res­i­dents feel that the Town of Spa­niard’s Bay is hav­ing too many priv­i­leged meet­ings.

That’s ac­cord­ing to the min­utes from the town’s reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ing on Sept. 28. A res­i­dent of the com­mu­nity wrote to the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment on the sub­ject of priv­i­leged meet­ings.

The town re­ceived word from a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs three days ear­lier in­form­ing them a com­plaint had been lodged.

Spa­niard’s Bay Mayor Tony Men­chions has heard it in the com­mu­nity as well. The scut­tle­butt around town is that coun­cil holds be­tween five and six priv­i­lege meet­ings a month.

The mayor said that sim­ply isn’t the case.

“There is no ba­sis for that com­plaint,” said Men­chions. “We are well within our bounds.”

Since tak­ing over as mayor in July, the town has held a hand­ful of priv­i­leged meet­ings. Men­chions fig­ures they’ve had three such meet­ings since he as­sumed the chain of of­fice and only a cou­ple more since Jan­uary.

“We have very few priv­i­leged meet­ings,” he said.

Town coun­cils gen­er­ally have two types of meet­ings. There are the pub­lic meet­ings, which are open to any­one who wishes to at­tend and where most of the town’s busi­ness is taken care off.

This in­cludes mo­tions on build­ing per­mits, cor­re­spon­dence with res­i­dents and other mat­ters.

Then,

there

are

priv­i­leged meet­ings. They deal with more del­i­cate sub­jects like staffing, le­gal mat­ters and fi­nances. There is no guide­line found in the Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties Act that sets a limit on priv­i­leged meet­ings.

Spa­niard’s Bay Mayor Tony Men­chions says there’s no truth to the sug­ges­tion his coun­cil is hold­ing an ex­ces­sive num­ber of priv­i­leged meet­ings.

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