Council follows best practices

Council follows best practices

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The Town of Oliver gets an “A” for following the best practices guide for local governments.
Corporate officer Cathy Cowan recently delivered a report on the guide, saying the Town already follows 99 per cent of what’s in it.
For example, topics dealing with land, labour and law are dealt with in closed meetings (in- camera). But bylaws are never adopted in closed meetings, she pointed out.
After in-camera sessions, as much information as possible should be released to the public, Cowan said.
The corporate officer said council members have a duty to respect confidentiality and keep the Town’s trade secrets to themselves. She noted that councillors do a good job in being careful during electronic communication with each other.
Mayor Ron Hovanes said Cowan does a good job making sure that council does not go astray when dealing with Town issues.
Councillor Jack Bennest said council is on the “cutting edge of openness” when it comes to disclosure of decisions at the end of the year.
Cowan said residents can find details and agendas on all open meetings on the Town’s website. Copies of the agendas are also available at the Town hall.
Council was queried about its rule relating to question period, when residents can only ask about topics that were on the agenda.
Mayor Ron Hovanes said that rule was made by a previous council to prevent people from “hijacking” the meeting.
Municipal Manager Tom Szalay said council is able to answer questions much easier when they have the information in front of them (from the agenda’s reading file).
However, council agreed the question period rule is not a hard and fast one. If a citizen has a question, he or she can ask it.

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