Unlike other levels of government, municipal government does most of its decision making in open meeting – that is to say our meetings are open to the public to attend.
There are only few instances that Council can meet in closed session – they are prescribed by legislation. There has always been a lot of attention to ensuring that a agenda item can legitimately be conducted in closed session.
During our orientation this term, Council was challenged to begin asking a new question. Just because an issue can be discussed in closed session, does it have to be? What would be the implications of discussing the item in open session? Are there any?
This new approach has been embraced and has resulted in a reduction in the number of items discussed in close session. The Governance Committee recently received a report that establishes this new practice as a protocol.