Several delegations attended he meeting of Sarnia Council on Oct. 23, 2017. It was interesting to note that councillors were most agreeable to requests made by each delegation. In fact, councillors’ comments made it quite obvious that an election isn’t too far off.
Councillor Mike Kelch chaired the meeting in the absence of the mayor. I’d hoped he could put the lid on councillors’ ramblings on almost every item. Each had to have his or her say even if it was simply repeating what was already stated. I was disturbed by what appeared to be rude interruptions by councillors when Alderman Boushy attempted to make a point as well as what looked like the chair was cutting him off and not letting him finish what he wanted to convey. However, all others were allowed to go on and on and on ~ ad nauseam. Hey, Cindy Scholten, Matt Mittro, and Andy Bruziewicz provided a valuable lesson with respect to paper garbage bags. I learned that if they aren’t picked up promptly, the bottoms will fall out and the leaves will scatter. Anne Marie Gillis told the story of her trip to Calgary and how garbage is dealt with there. That, in itself, made the 3 hours spent in the audience worthwhile.
What bothered me was item M under Budget, a submission regarding the Procedure By-law Review which stated “That Sarnia City Council receives a new Procedure By-law for information with consideration of endorsement at a Regular Council Meeting in December, 2017, following the public notice period”. Not one comment was made on this important issue.
Judging by the lack of sufficient public notice with respect to online voting (many did not know that there would be no paper ballots) that public input could be received before making a decision. I fear that this item, too, will be quietly acted upon without public’s input.
If one took the time to look up these proposed changes, one could see why the public should make it a point to let council know just how they feel about them.
The clerk wrote that on Sept. 12, 2016, Council passed the following three motions”
(1) That staff be directed to amend the Procedure By-Law to create the position of Deputy Mayor.
(2) That council choose to appoint a Deputy mayor on an annual rotation beginning with the member with the highest number of votes at the last municipal election and
(3) that staff be directed to prepare a report outlining the potential roles and responsibilities of the deputy mayor.
As far as I know, the people of Sarnia have had no say in the creation of such a position and it is a matter that should be placed before them in the next election, not decided by what are, in my not so humble opinion, a group of wannabees. Persons should have to campaign and run for election if such a position is deemed necessary. In past years, councillors have taken turns representing the mayor in his absence and this has worked well, so why the urgent change?
Recommendations made by the City Clerk include a regular meeting recess at 6:00 pm for a duration of 30 minutes ~ does this mean suppertime with meals provided by the taxpayer while those in the audience wait for them to fill their bellies?
Letters to the Mayor and Council or arranging to speak at the December meeting with respect to these and other changes is the public input needed.