“A Politician thinks of the next election... A Leader thinks of the next generation.”
Governance in the context of City Council is the set of rules by which Council comes together to make decisions about the direction of the City.
While governing, it came to my attention that the some of the Procedural Rules that City Council had been operating under did not meet the Best Practice Standards as outlined by the Ombudsman of Ontario and our own Closed Meeting experts especially when it came to the level of transparency and accountability of decision making on behalf of the public.
The business of Council should be conducted in an open and transparent manner whenever possible and decisions by Council should only be done behind closed doors and out of the public eye on rare occasions.
On these rare occasions Council should be sharing as much information as possible with the public regarding the discussion/decision being made behind closed doors.
This transparency and accountability was not happening.
I tried unsuccessfully for over a year to appeal to senior staff and my Council colleagues that our governance rules were woefully lacking, to no avail, with the majority of my colleagues feeling that our mediocre procedures were adequate.
When this happens, as a Councillor, you have two choices:
1. You go along… to get along with the status quo,
2. Or you push for change and find ways to bring the issue to the forefront.
I am by nature, bold and brave, and I chose the path of necessary change. It was a very painful process to have some of my Council colleagues try to quiet me, but in the end, our Procedural Bylaw was updated with recommendations from the Closed Meeting experts that supported everything I had been advocating so long for.
Governance and rules are very important, but these rules that govern Council need to be well thought out and represent the best interest of the residents of Burlington.