REPORTING · 31st May 2012
On Monday May 7th, an item was scheduled for the In Camera Session could have been brought out into the regular meeting of Council. Councillor Mario Feldhoff wanted the public to know about it.
“We have an item in the In Camera, a legal item, that has the potential public aspects to it as well,” said Feldhoff. “Is there an opportunity to go In Camera for clarification of a legal item or wait for another evening to discuss the item so the public can be aware of the discussion.”
Municipal Manager Ron Poole stated he had a discussion on this earlier that day. He said the procedural bylaw does not allow Council to break from the regular meeting and go in camera. He stated the information the Council would receive on this matter could be released after the meeting because the In Camera meeting followed the regular meeting.
Going back, once again, to the Community Charter, there are provisions under division 3 concerning closed (In Camera) meetings. Under the list of provisions as to why a meeting should be closed, it lists the discussion concerning whether an item should be closed to the public.
For holding a closed meeting, the Community Charter states the only requirement is for Council to pass a motion to close the meeting as a part of a public meeting where they must pass a motion to hold a meeting In Camera and what the reason for going in Camera is.
The Kitimat Daily had a conversation with former Mayor, Richard Wozney who told us the Council, under his leadership, would go In Camera from time to time during the regular meetings of Council for certain items. Also, in the past, the Council has Closed Meetings during the budget discussion for the purposes of discussing land and legal items.
When the Release of In Camera items from May 12th, the only candidate was a “land item,” which was described as building a right turn lane at the Quatsino / Lahakas intersection. Earlier this year, Councillor Mary Murphy brought forward a similar motion for in camera and was told it did not qualify.
Municipal Manager Ron Poole explained it was because there was legal advice which needed to be considered. As for the issue of whether or not Council can go in camera in the middle of the meeting, Poole explained they have to pass a motion and clear the room.