Councillor proposes fail-safe for lame duck council
It will take both Welland’s chief administrative officer and chief financial officer to authorize expenditures outside the city’s budget exceeding $50,000 and to approve disposing of or buying property under lame duck provisions passed Tuesday night.
Originally, it was only to be CAO Gary Long who could make those moves, and others, under the provisions proposed, but Ward 2 Coun. David McLeod wanted two people instead of one.
“We’re going from a check and balance system of 13 members to the discretion of one individual. How do we have that in front of us?” he asked.
Acting clerk Carmela Radice said the provisions, which would also allow the CAO to hire or dismiss employees, would only apply if council was in a lame duck position.
A lame duck council can be one where less than 75 per cent of incumbent candidates run for reelection as of July 27 or where less than 75 per cent of incumbents are reelected. The second option would apply between Oct. 22 and Dec. 1.
Radice said the measures are set out in the Municipal Act.
McLeod asked how council and the public would be advised of expenditures and other actions under a lame duck period.
Radice said there is a provision in the bylaw that requires the CAO to report to council if he uses his authority to carry out spending, buying/selling property or hiring/ firing employees.
McLeod moved an amendment to include chief financial officer Steve Zorbas in the decision-making.
“This is so we have two heads instead of one. It’s not about distrust, it’s about having a fail-safe,” he said.
His amendment and the bylaw both passed.