Does Tehkummah council really need twice-monthly meetings?

The amount of business being conducted doesn’t warrant the extra meeting

To the Expositor:

As a frequent attendee of the Tehkummah council meetings, I fail to see the need for council and staff to have two regular meetings per month. (As reported in the February 21, 2018 edition of The Manitoulin Expositor)

In recent months, the number of items on the agenda have decreased significantly, yet less action is being decided upon.

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Why is that? How does that justify additional meetings?

It is noted that one council member expressed a concern that each meeting of council costs the taxpayers almost $1,500 in council honorariums and employee wages. Having two regular meetings per month imposes an extra cost of $1,500 per month times 12 months which amounts to an additional $18,000 per year. Some members of council stated they would waive their honorariums but I certainly do not expect the employees to attend for free. With recent cries of the township being broke, how does increasing the number of council meetings not impose additional financial strain?

If council members took their position seriously, they would come prepared to the meeting by having read the agenda reports and information presented to them ahead of time. There is ample time between the agenda being released and the council meeting for council members to seek clarification on agenda items prior to the council meeting.

The municipal business placed before the council could be concluded at one sitting if the chair would control the meeting by limiting the discussion to the topic on the agenda and not allowing a council member to monopolize the floor by grandstanding almost to the point of campaigning for 30 minutes to an hour or more.

Since the clerk-treasurer was suspended in late December, more than two months ago, the council has taken a turn to the dark side. The reeve’s suggestion of changing the hours of the meeting and the statement made by the deputy clerk-treasurer that the reeve could simply call the second meeting without stating that the procedural bylaw requires amendment, are the kind of statements that blatantly ignores the procedural bylaw and the Municipal Act by slamming the door on accountability and transparency and begs the question “What do you have to hide?”

I guess the answers are to be found in the famous quotes of Reeve Russell, “Rules are made to be broken,” and Deputy Reeve Bowerman, “Forget the Municipal Act.”

James Fawcett

Tehkummah

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