A special municipal council meeting called for Nov. 30 didn’t move ahead due to a lack of quorum, as a Notice of Motion brought forward by the Mayor continues to be a sticking point between members.
Councillors Dan Roveda, Leo Malette, Chris Fisher and Rolly Larabie informed their fellow members they would not be attending unless the Notice of Motion regarding “Discussions between Mayor and CAO” was withdrawn. Council had previously been told by their Director of Corporate Services, Alisa Craddock that discussing that matter in an open forum was problematic and could expose the municipality and individual members of council to legal ramifications.
“Collectively we have made the decision not to attend tonight’s meeting,” wrote Roveda in an open letter. “We have based our decision on advice and wish not to risk the legal and financial liability of the Municipality. We believe our tax dollars are better spent on infrastructure and projects which will move the community forward rather than in pointless legal expenses. The mayor should understand this given the wasted money spent to defend the OPP transition. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
The four councillors communicated their intent the day before the scheduled meeting. However, when the Municipal Clerk asked Mayor Joanne Savage if she wanted to cancel due to a lack of quorum, she stated she had no plan to call off the meeting.
“Hopefully there’s reconsideration of members who are abstaining for no valid reason,” wrote Savage. “As you shared with all members, motions can be withdrawn at meeting and or a proposed amendment. Our procedures allow us to do business openly and transparently as required and expected by our constituents.”
The Clerk also informed council that the motion could be withdrawn ahead of time, but Savage has refused to remove it, even adding it again on the agenda for the December 7 regular meeting which was subsequently cancelled.
“Our rules also allows other provisions to deal with a motion if the above failed,” wrote the mayor. “Such as: proposing a reconsideration, proposing a referral to a specified closed session, or even putting on record refusal to discuss matter. All this to say, there were several ways of dealing with the motion at the table, in an open and transparent meeting and having no risk or liability to the municipality.”