Mar 20, 2012

Council Confirms "Best Practices" for all Closed Meetings

In order to ensure continued transparency in the decision-making process, the Ladysmith Council recently endorsed the following best practices for all closed meetings. These best practices are based on recommendations from the Provincial Ombudsperson's Office which were presented at the 2011 UBCM Convention.  

Council noted that it had already been following nearly all of the Best Practices listed.   

1.      Establish whether or not the “meeting” constitutes a formal meeting thereby triggering the requirement to comply with the legislation (Sec. 90 Community Charter).

2.      Ensure all closed meeting notices:
a)   are prepared in accordance with the legislation;
b)   that specific reasons for closing the meeting are stipulated (Sec. 90 and 92 Community Charter); and,
c)   are posted on public bulletin boards and on the Town’s website.

3.      Ensure the public is aware that, upon request, their name(s) will be included on the email distribution list for Council and Committee agendas and minutes.

4.      Ensure that a resolution is adopted in the open meeting authorizing the Council to close the meeting to the public and that the resolution is read out in its entirety. Three components of the resolution are:
a)   The fact that the meeting or part of the meeting is to be closed;
b)   The basis on which the meeting is to be closed; and,
c)   The specific paragraph from Sec. 90 that requires or authorizes the closure

5.      Use the special authority to waive notice of a special closed meeting only under exceptional circumstances.

6.      Keep discussion focussed on subjects as stipulated in the notice.

7.      NEVER vote on readings or adoption of a bylaw.

8.      Ensure that minutes include all meeting attendees.

9.      Review closed meeting minutes bi-annually and “rise and report” on items as deemed appropriate.

There are very limited reasons for a Council to hold a closed meeting (a meeting that is closed to members of the public).  Those reasons are laid out in  the BC Community Charter.