Coun­cil­lor pro­poses fail-safe for lame duck coun­cil

The Welland Tribune - - Local - DAVE JOHN­SON

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.

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