Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


Council discusses new procedural by-law.

By Randy Thoms Jun 27, 2023 | 3:19 PM

File photo Image: Randy Thoms

More changes are in store for how town council operates in Fort Frances.

Council is looking at a list of revisions to a 42-page procedural by-law, which outlines the rules for council and committee meetings.

Many changes are necessary with the elimination of council’s executive committee meetings.

Council voted earlier this month to eliminate them and to hold just two council meetings each month.

One proposal calls for in-camera sessions at the start of a meeting.

It does not sit with Councillor Mike Behan.

“I’m not sure I like it at the beginning of the meeting. We did that before on the previous council, and I felt we were under some time constraints, especially when there’s delegation or deputations waiting upstairs,” says Behan. “I remember spending a lot of time in-camera discussing items and feeling so guilty when we came up here of people waiting in the gallery to either do presentations or the reporters. I just felt like I was wasting their time.”

The in-camera portion was moved to the end a couple of years ago to avoid delegations having to wait for long periods of time before they could address council.

That moved presentations to the start.

“I just prefer to have delegations near the beginning,” says Councillor Wendy Brunetta, “because they can come present and leave and then (have the) in-camera toward the end of the agenda.”

Others like Mayor Andrew Hallikas and Councillor David Kirchers support moving the in-camera back to the beginning of a meeting.

Kircher says council can set a time for debate to end.

“The in-camera can also adjourn until after the public meeting and then get back at it so you can keep it where it is. I like it where it is because you rise and report, and the public is still here when we’re reporting,” says Kircher.

The practice is followed by several other communities and school boards.

Other proposed changes include the agenda being made available to the public by the Thursday before the scheduled meeting.

Delegations making presentations to council would be given 20 minutes to speak, increasing from 10.

Council members who declare a conflict on a matter will have to leave the room while it is being discussed by others. If they are attending virtually, they will have to close their camera and audio until a decision and/or vote has been taken.

A final vote on the by-law will take place at a meeting on July 10.


Leave a Reply