Grice Speaks on Motion
Dunnville Chronicle Staff Writer
October, 21, 2009
“This motion has less to do with cohesiveness and the messaging that Council provides to Provincial and Federal officials, than it does with healing bruised egos, and next year’s election”, said Councillor Craig Grice in an interview with the Chronicle last Friday.
Grice was speaking about a motion that was narrowly passed by council last week that puts in place protocol for Council members in regards to meetings with Provincial and Federal Ministers and their staff. The motion requires that all formal meetings with Provincial and Federal Government Ministers or their staff include an agenda of issues and that the meeting be arranged through the Mayor’s office after first being sanctioned through resolution by a majority vote of Council. The resolution also requires a verbal report to Council.
Councillor Leroy Bartlett who was not in attendance when this motion was debated at the previous Council meeting had a concern about what happens if they are in a meeting with a government official and the discussion leads to something that has not been previously sanctioned by Council. Don Boyle, CAO of Haldimand County answered Bartlett’s concerns by saying that a Council member can only discuss what is on the agenda, they cannot report any personal opinions. Councillor Buck Sloat stated that this motion moves Council forward on a united front with a united voice and shows that they are working as a team.
Councillor Lorne Boyko asked for clarification on the meaning of a formal meeting, Mayor Marie Trainer’s response was that a formal meeting was one that is arranged through the Mayor’s office.
Boyko asked for an amendment to the motion in reference to a verbal report to council, to read a written report to council. Boyko said the amendment does not create a paper trail for current and future councils, we have way to many verbal reports now. The motion to amend the amendment was defeated.
“We are a board of directors” let’s start acting like one, said Councillor Tony Dalimonte during council’s lengthy debate. Boyko later said in an interview with the Chronicle that he disagreed with Dalimonte’s statement. A board of directors meets with their stakeholders usually four times a year, and bottom line is a board of directors is dollar driven.
As far as Grice is concerned each Councillor has a job to represent his or her constituents and that's exactly what he will continue to do. “The argument that Council speaks through resolution is non deniable, but to say a Councillor once a vote is taken is no longer allowed to speak in opposition is not only wrong, its arrogant”, said Grice.
Grice is of the opinion that the motion as passed is seriously flawed. What happens when a Councillor has an immediate opportunity to meet with someone in authority? Any meeting now would be against Council resolution, no matter how well intended. A County’s approach or view is not always the same as wards views or needs. Some issues are not of countywide concern, therefore this motion could be seen as removing the autonomy of ward representation which the Municipal Act currently authorizes. In the end the local voice could be lost or altered as the intent of the original meeting request is forced to change to gain approval, said Grice.
Council passed the resolution with a vote of 4-3, Councillors Boyko, Bartlett and Grice voted against it.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Grice Speaks on Motion