Catch 22 in Action
Ron Bolin: June 23, 2017
The following correspondence is meant to provide some of the reasons why I have taken the time and trouble to document an important and expensive new City function which I believe demonstrates the danger to taxpayers posed by the arbitrary use of IN-CAMERA decisions with out of camera consequences.
From: Ron Bolin [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 2:32 PM
To: Tracy Samra <Tracy.Samra@nanaimo.ca>; Victor Mema <Victor.Mema@nanaimo.ca>; Sheila Gurrie <Sheila.Gurrie@nanaimo.ca>
Cc: Mayor&Council <Mayor&Council@nanaimo.ca>
Subject: New Solid Waste Collection System
Members of Nanaimo’s Municipal Administration:
At last night’s Council meeting I raised the question of the validity of any decision made concerning what is essentially a whole new solid waste collection system being implemented in camera and without the benefit of consideration in an open Council meeting where it could be debated and considered publically. I note that I had on a number of occasions in the past requested to be a delegation on this issue, and was told that the matter had been postponed. Last night there were assertions that proper procedures had been followed.
Will you please provide documentation to show that the formalities associated with the Business of Council relative to good governance on behalf of the citizens of Nanaimo has been followed by Council in this matter.
Thank you for your prompt response.
Hello Mr. Bolin,
Below is a chronology of the automated waste discussions that have taken place at Council or Committee of the Whole. On March 27, 2017, Council went “In Camera” because of labour issues and legal opinions with respect to this matter. Council approved the additional 6 trucks and implementation of in-house automated solid waste and this was risen and reported on via press release. The “IN CAMERA” release for the remainder of 2016 and the first quarter of 2017 will go to July 10th “IC” for a decision of Council. Once they have determined what is intended to be released, can be, it will be posted on our website. This release will include the Minutes from the 2017-MAR-27 meeting and they will be available to you at this time.
Chronology: the following is a chronology of Council discussions and directions to staff regarding the automated solid waste collection service:
- 2015-MAR-30 Special Open Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting: Council received a presentation from staff entitled “Automation; Why, How, How Much?”, which outlined the range of opportunities that automated solid waste collection offers.
- 2015-JUN-22 Special Open Council meeting: Council authorized Staff to purchase two tandem axle, split stream “Automation Ready” Solid Waste trucks at an approximate cost of $400,000 per vehicle through the 2015 Equipment Reserve Fund.
- 2015-AUG-31 Special Open Council meeting: Council directed staff to prepare a report that: “provided an option to purchase the entire automated garbage fleet in one Request for Proposal and, factored in the cost of purchasing receptacles and, considered all other related financial implications as a result of purchasing all six units in one purchase”.
- 2015-SEP-28 Committee of the Whole meeting: Council directed staff to prepare a report that responded to Council’s questions relating to automated solid waste collection services. The questions related to issues within the department and implementation of automated solid waste collection services.
- 2015-OCT-26 Committee of the Whole meeting: Council directed staff to purchase two trucks and an appropriate number of receptacles.
- 2015-NOV-23 Special Open Council meeting: Council directed staff to select an area of the City in which to implement automated solid waste collection services.
- 2015-DEC-16 Special Open Council meeting: Council approved the purchase of two automated garbage trucks (following an RFP process).
- 2016-JUL-18 Committee of the Whole meeting: Council directed staff to develop an updated business case that takes into account observations from the Core Service Review (CSR) report on automated collection of solid waste (CSR page 77).
- 2016-AUG-22 Committee of the Whole meeting: Staff presented two business models for Council’s consideration. Council received this report for information.
Sheila Gurrie, CIPP/C, CIAPP-P
City Clerk and Corporate Officer
City of Nanaimo
455 Wallace Street, Nanaimo, BC V9R 5J6
T 250.755.4494 F 250.755.4435
Response sent to Ms. Gurrie, Mr. Mema, Ms. Samra, Mayor and Council on June 22, 2017
Good morning Ms. Gurrie:
In order to further fill out the chronology which you presented in your email of yesterday shown below, I add the following correspondence received from the City regarding the scheduling of my delegation to Council on the issue of Solid Waste Collection:
- 2017-JAN-13 – An email from Mary Brown, LS, Informing me that “The Automated Solid Waste Collection report will not be going to the 2016-JAN-23 Committee of the Whole meeting but will instead be moved to a later meeting. We will advise you when that meeting has been determined and move your delegation to that meeting.”
- 2017-Jan-06 – An email from Mio Pidruchney, LS, informing me that “Your delegation (Automated Solid Waste Collection) for the 2017-JAN-16 Regular Council Meeting Agenda has been moved to the 2017-JAN-23 Committee of the Whole Agenda. Please advise the Legislative Services Department at 250-755-4405 or by email: email@example.com to confirm that you are able to attend this meeting. You will be given 10 minutes to speak. The meeting begins at 4:30 p.m. and is held in the Board Room, Service and Resource Centre, 411 Dunsmuir Street, Nanaimo, BC.”
- 2017-Jan-04 – An email from Mio Pidruchney, LS, informing me that “Your delegation will be added to the Agenda for the Regular Council Meeting 2017-JAN-16. Please advise if you are able to attend this meeting. You will be given 10 minutes to speak. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m., and is held in the Shaw Auditorium of the Vancouver Island Conference Centre at 80 Commercial Street.”
- 2016-DEC-2 – An email from Jessica Vanderhoef, LS, informing me that “We spoke on the phone a few days ago regarding what would be happening with your delegation request from the November 28th Council Meeting (Automated Solid Waste Collection). It is still unclear when that report will be brought back to a Council Meeting, however, I have made a note of your request to be a delegation for when it comes up again. “
- 3026-NOV-25 – An email from Mio Pidruchney, LS, informing me that “This is to acknowledge receipt of your delegation request regarding Automated Solid Waste Collection. Your delegation has been added to the Agenda for the Special Council Meeting 2016-NOV-28. You will be given 10 minutes to speak. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m., and is held in the Shaw Auditorium of the Vancouver Island Conference Centre at 80 Commercial Street.”
This demonstrates my point that no public debate on this significant issue ever took place and that my rights to present my views as a delegation and as a citizen in this costly venture were taken without due process.
Further, the fact that Council chose to go in-camera at the March 27, 2017, Council meeting on this issue to determine a matter (via Section 90(1) which it has deemed to be its prerogative in secrecy, does not relieve it of its public obligations. See the minutes below:
MINUTES – SPECIAL COUNCIL 2017-MAR-27 PAGE 6 11. PROCEDURAL MOTION: 10417
It was moved and seconded that the meeting be closed to the public in order to deal with agenda items under the Community Charter Section 90(1): (c) labour relations or other employee relations; (i) the receipt of advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose; (k) negotiations and related discussions respecting the proposed provision of a municipal service that are at their preliminary stages and that, in the view of the Council, could reasonably be expected to harm the interests of the municipality if they were held in public; and, (n) the consideration of whether a Council meeting should be closed under a provision of this subsection or subsection (2). The motion carried unanimously. M. Desrochers vacated the Boardroom at 7:49 p.m. Councillor Thorpe vacated the Boardroom at 7:49 p.m. Council moved into “In Camera” at 7:49 p.m. Council moved out of “In Camera” at 9:59 p.m. 12. ADJOURNMENT: Decorum was lost at 9:59 p.m. and the meeting adjourned.
Regarding this statement from the minutes of the meeting of March 27, I make the following observations:
There is some contention regarding whether the vote to go in-camera was indeed unanimous and the adjournment due to the loss of decorum casts doubt on whether the matter was indeed settled in that meeting, even within the all too pliable confines of Section 90(1).
Further, the contention that a press release permits the sanction of a matter which should come before an open meeting of Council is as empty as the Catch 22 mocking of public policy found in Section 90(1).
I await the comments of Council and Staff on this important procedural matter.
As my latest request was just sent yesterday (June 22), I do not expect a reply until next week. I will pass it along when received…