The Hamilton Spectator

City council efficiency


Regarding Scott Radley’s recent column about city council meetings, many of his suggestion­s would be ways to get council’s business done within the new eight-hour meeting cap rather than being inherently better ways to shorten meetings. He suggests shorter meetings from less talking might boost citizen engagement, but there shouldn’t be a rule about it. They’re not mutually exclusive. Yes, council can extend meetings beyond this limit on a case-by-case basis, but what this new bylaw does is set the default to a time that is more humane for councillor­s and staff as human beings and as workers and allows everyone involved to predict when they might be available for children or other care responsibi­lities more accurately.

What troubles me more is the implicatio­n that our new council is wasteful and not hard-working. Some councillor­s asked for bigger office budgets to hire staff to engage with constituen­ts, a rationale that was provided transparen­tly. Council’s upcoming considerat­ion of the largest tax increase in several years is the direct and predictabl­e consequenc­e of previous councils’ decisions to cut costs short-term without balanced fiscal planning for long-term infrastruc­ture and service needs. To spend most of the article offering (presumably) better ways to shorten meetings, and then chastise council for voting for “shorter work hours” is an interestin­g sleight of hand; although not the same as total work hours, as the author himself points out, I thought shorter meetings were a good thing. Do I sense a wistfulnes­s for a bygone era?

C.A. Klassen, Hamilton

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada