How many in-camera meetings should a municipal council hold during its tenure? There are those times when money and personnel matters need to be dealt with initially out of the public’s eye ….otherwise going in-camera on any whim never serves a community at large and is actually a breach of the Municipal Act.
Sooner or later keeping information constantly away from taxpayers can never be justified. Last century a bylaw was approved regarding media being notified 24 hours or more before an in-camera was to be conducted…..point being, the media could ask councillors what took place once they returned in open session. The bylaw lasted about 48 hours when majority of council moved the bylaw be waived so members could go in-camera.
If an in-camera meeting is called to intentionally hide facts, results, intentions or conflicts of interest…..then the Provincial Ombudsman should be informed especially if this is a regular routine in dealing with municipal matters. Yes there are times when in-camera sessions are warranted, the number may have to be monitored by interested taxpayers and reported accordingly, wouldn’t you agree? One only has to browse the meeting calendar on the Town of Midland’s own website to see the multitude of closed meetings. Perhaps Council can speak to why they have had 34 closed (in-camera) meetings in their short 14 months in office – with many more likely to ensue given the current state of human resources and union negotiations at Town Hall.