Rhetoric and Ideas?

Ron Bolin:  April 1, 2012

In a March 31 article in the Nanaimo Daily News by Tamara Cunningham, Mayor Ruttan is quoted as saying that: “Most of the committee of the whole meetings are about rhetoric and ideas…” and appears to be, at best, lukewarm to these “other” Council meetings being held in the broader public eye of a recorded and easily available on-line and/or broadcast format.

These meetings have traditionally been held at 4:30 pm in the afternoon on alternate Mondays from “regular” Council meetings in the City Hall boardroom where there is barely enough space for Council and Staff, and little space for citizens.  They have not been televised or live recorded in any way so that their only record comes via Minutes of the meeting after several weeks, giving the public a very select and dated record.  These FPCOW, i.e. Finance and Policy Committee of the Whole, meetings can and do deal with virtually all matters excepting the passage of bylaws.  Financial and Policy decisions, among others, can and do get made at them.

For example at the FPCOW meeting next Monday, April 2, the meeting will deal with over $2,300,000 in estimates, allocations or reallocations and at least two significant proposals for changes in Council or Committee structure or procedures will be discussed and dealt with.  There will be a presentation regarding the City’s reserve funds which are in the tens of millions of dollars.  It also gives one of the last chances for the public to comment and or question the Budget/Financial Plan for 2012-2016.  Hardly, I would suggest, insignificant rhetoric and ideas.   The newspaper article can be found here:

http://www2.canada.com/nanaimodailynews/news/story.html?id=36cdf820-afb7-4fdd-9f2e-70300ca334a3&k=73724

The Agenda for the April 2, FPCOW meeting can be found here:

http://www.nanaimo.ca/UploadedFilesPath/Site_Structure/Corporate_Services/Corporate_Administration/2012_Committee_Agendas/FPCOW120402A.pdf

If you think that you deserve at least the possibility of seeing what happens at these “other” Council meetings and not being shut out, you can contact Council by email at:  mayor.council@nanaimo.ca asking that they use the video facilities in the VICC to record the meetings for access through the City’s web site and pursue broadcast possibilities with Shaw Cable who currently provide tv access to the “regular“ Council meetings, or you can contact Councillors individually through their listings at:

http://www.nanaimo.ca/EN/main/municipal/city-council/CityCouncil.html

We deserve to know what our elected officials are doing on our behalf.

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