Motion to pay roads department crew overtime draws procedural concerns from council members

MINDEMOYA—A motion brought forward by Central Manitoulin Mayor Gerry Strong, calling for the municipality to pay overtime for its roads department crew on a similar level to the majority of other Island municipalities, will be brought forward again at the next meeting of council after concerns were raised by council with the process of the motion having been brought forward.

Mayor Strong told council, “the motion is in front of you. It reads: ‘whereas it is my belief that the municipality of Central Manitoulin’s road department is second to none; and whereas the road departments prime concern is the safety of the residents, especially during the high overtime winter season; now therefore I recommend to council that the municipality of Central Manitoulin pay overtime at 44 hours similar to the majority of the other Island municipalities.’

Mayor Strong had stepped down with Councillor Ted Taylor having taken over the duties of chair of the meeting. The former also requested that a recorded vote be taken of council on the motion.

“This is an interesting procedural move,” said Councillor Adam McDonald.

Clerk Ruth Frawley explained that with Mayor Strong stepping down as chair, it means the deputy mayor (Councillor Ted Taylor) would take over and it also allows the mayor to vote on the motion.

“Our mayor said when he first took over he would only vote to break ties,” said Councillor McDonald.

“This is a private members motion,” said Councillor Derek Stephens. “So (Mayor Strong) would have had to put the motion forward at the start of the meeting.”

It was pointed out the motion-issue had been put on the meeting agenda at the start of the meeting with approval from council.

“He said ‘this is a roads department issue’ and then he left as chair of the meeting,” said Councillor Stephens. “This wasn’t a motion ruling, and this doesn’t follow our rules of procedure.”

Councillor McDonald agreed, saying he would like clarification on this.

“The problem was there had been no notice of the motion being put forward,” said Councillor Stephens.

In bylaw 2011-08, being a bylaw to regulate the procedures of the council of the municipality of Central Manitoulin, under ‘Motions’ it reads, “at least one day’s notice shall be given to all new motions except matters of privilege or the presentation of petitions, notices of motion received by the clerk at any time the council is in session, and such notices shall be set out in full in the agenda of the routine of business of the meeting at which they are to be considered.”

“This would have been fine if the motion had been presented prior to the council meeting,” said Councillor Stephens. “Procedurally, I don’t think we can vote on this.”

Mayor Strong stated, “council is arguing the procedure of bylaw proceedings, it is the treatment of the roads people that should be being discussed. You are not addressing the issue in front of you.”

“Our procedural bylaw says it all,” said Councillor Stephens.

Mayor Strong told council, “I will rescind my motion and be bringing this back to the next council meeting. Councillors are blocking this in procedures, rather than addressing the issue. Notice has now been given this motion will be on the next council meeting agenda.”