Last night at Council we had a few motions on the agenda put forward by members of Council. I wanted to focus on one of them and that is the motion put forward by Councillor Thompson to move the Town towards audio recording of closed session meetings.
This motion was first brought forward in 2009, during the 2006-2010 term of Council and has since been re-tabled twice in subsequent terms. Each time this motion has been defeated with councillors raising concerns about being held accountable for what has been said behind closed doors.
But I am pleased to say that this council voted – unanimously – in favour of this motion to record closed session meetings of Council; opting for greater transparency and accountability of Council deliberations.
We have seen in the past when an investigation of an allegation regarding council is launched that with out a transcript/audio or even video recording of the conversation, there is no true account of what transpired. Folks can say whatever they want, make allegations and mischaracterizations of discussions – secure in the knowledge there’s no record of what actually occurred. It’s why the Ontario Ombudsman has specifically recommended it as a means to ensure transparency of and accuracy of records regarding closed session meetings. It’s an important mechanism to ensure that there is an accurate record of what was – and was not – said, discussed and decided in a closed session meeting.
I have always said that what I say in a closed session meeting is exactly what I would say in open session. What you see is what you get. There should be no issues with moving to recording closed session meetings as it will help protect the municipality, the individual and the residents from unwarranted and frivolous allegations, and ensure greater transparency.
I am glad that Council passed this motion unanimously and thank Councillor Thompson for bringing this item back this term. I am looking forward to knowing that the words of council are recorded and there can be no mistake as to what was said. That is true transparency .. #GettingThingsDone