Finally!! We note that one of the recommendations of the Civic Engagement Task Force, before Council in May 2011, was that closed sessions be held prior to public input (motion defeated). We have previously pointed out that it’s disrespectful to the public to call the meeting to order, hold the public input session, and then disappear for any time (up to 90 mins in the past) before the start of the public portion of the meeting. We do believe that the citizens may be better served by starting the meeting with public input at 7pm – particularly on nights that meetings are covered live on TV by Shaw. If changes are being contemplated to procedure bylaws we trust there will be an opportunity for public input.
Santa’s agenda. (and stumbling blocks to public engagement) from the North Shore News:
If you’ll forgive us the cliche, Christmas has come early for City of North Vancouver council watchers. For the last two meetings, the city has moved its behind-closed-doors portion of the meeting until the very end. The city has, for years, typically gone in camera just minutes after calling the meeting to order.
It’s more than a little inconvenient for the people who have come at the invitation of council to make a presentation, receive an award or simply make good on their democratic right to show up and give council what-for. This goes double when the in-camera meeting drags on for an hour or more.
In-camera meetings should be held either before or after public meetings, not during, and council should make public any releasable information at the next available opportunity.
While we’re at it, here’s the rest of our Christmas wish list for our North Shore councils.
From the District of North Vancouver, we’d wish for council agendas to be translated from bureaucratese into either of Canada’s official languages. Also, another piece of coal for the fire in council chambers. It’s bloody cold in there.
All we ask from West Van council is that they make sure everyone understands what they’re voting on before casting their yay or nay, preventing the need to revisit old issues.
Of course, fixing these problems would improve the lives of our longsuffering council reporters but they’re also irritating – and unnecessary – stumbling blocks to public engagement, which is what this is really about.
– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/santa-s-agenda-1.1689977#.dpuf