When is a Council Meeting a Council Meeting?

Frank Murphy — July 27, 2010
Email sent to City Manager Al Kenning Wed. July 21st and response received:

To: Al Kenning
Subject: Council Meetings

Hi Al —

Not urgent, but when you have a minute or perhaps you could forward to who best could answer —

I always wondered where in our municipal level of government discussion and debate happens among the Councillors. Official Council meetings don’t seem to lend themselves to this. They seem to be more of a review process than a forum for ideas to be contested and developed. So my question is when and where else does City Council meet? I have heard reference to a meeting Monday morning on Council meeting day. Am I correct that outside of guidelines laid down by the Community Charter allowing Council to meet in camera, these meetings are open to the public and the press?

Thanks in advance for your attention to this.

Frank Murphy

Reply received Wednesday, July 21, 2010 11:16 AM
From: Jan Kemp
To: ‘Frank Murphy’; Al Kenning
Cc: Douglas Holmes
Subject: RE: Council Meetings

Good day, Mr. Murphy. Al Kenning is away, so I have forwarded your email to Doug Holmes, Assistant City Manager.


Jan Kemp, Executive Assistant, City Manager’s Office

Reply received  Fri, 23 Jul 2010 16:18:51 -0700
From: Douglas Holmes <Douglas.Holmes@nanaimo.ca>
To: ‘frankmurphy@shaw.ca’ <frankmurphy@shaw.ca>
CC: GENERAL MANAGERS <GeneralManagers@nanaimo.ca>, Joan Harrison <Joan.Harrison@nanaimo.ca>, Jan Kemp <Jan.Kemp@nanaimo.ca>

Good afternoon, Mr. Murphy

Thank you for your enquiry.

Council is invited to attend a briefing on the Monday morning prior to a Council meeting. The purpose of the briefing is not to enter into debate or to advance discussion on a particular matter. Rather, they are solely for the purpose of ensuring that Council has all information needed to debate an issue at the open meeting later that day. The following excerpt can be found on the Ministry of Community and Rural Development website:

“Briefings by Staff
Staff briefings to further council’s understanding of an issue that do not constitute a material part of council’s decision making process would not typically be considered to be a meeting of council.”

I’ve attached a link to the Ministry website for your information (once you follow this link, you will need to scroll down to find the above excerpt).


I trust this provides the information you are seeking.

Douglas Holmes
Assistant City Manager/
General Manager, Corporate Services
City of Nanaimo