Under the Dome
This column reports on council meetings from my personal viewpoint and includes comments the reader may not agree with.
In all things there are three sides to a story – my truth, your truth and the real truth.
In my column for the January 22nd council meeting, I mentioned that Mayor Haime and Councillor Haime did not list their residential address on the Financial Disclosure Statement. I sent an email requesting them to file an amended Statement with their residential address. I did not hear from them. I am still puzzled why they [Mayor Colin and Councillor Denise Haime] feel it necessary to hide the fact that they live in Ladysmith. Councillor Haime who is emphatic about transparency does not want to live up to the standards she sets for other councillors.
February 19 Committee of the Whole Meeting
The Mayor, all Councillors, Mr. Campbell, Ms. Coates, and Mr. Limshue were present. The video of the meeting has been posted on the DOL website.
The agenda was amended due to a typo. Councillor Coulson had a question to staff on documents in the agenda package but not referenced in the agenda. He must not have been satisfied with the response to his questions, as he and Councillor Haime opposed approving the amended agenda. Councillors opposed to an agenda are a first for this council.
Public Input Period
There were six public comments.
Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the Committee of the Whole meeting held on December 18, 2017 were approved as amended though Councillors Haime and Coulson opposed. Councillor Coulson has a question on procedure and amending motions which was not answered to his satisfaction, I assume, as he opposed approving the minutes. I do not know why Councillor Haime opposed the minutes.
Official Community Plan Review
Due to the unusual ending of the previous COW meeting, the Mayor suggested that the draft OCP be reviewed on a section by section basis so that the main motion is not lost (not sure if I have interpreted his remarks correctly). Councillor Neary responded with a procedural question, as she believed that the agenda item under consideration at the previous December 18 COW meeting would be taken up at the February 19 COW meeting before any new business was discussed. Staff agreed with Councillor Neary and stated that the agenda should include an Unfinished Business agenda item listing the motion on the floor, being the approval of the draft OCP. Mayor countered by saying the “meeting ceased to exist” which seems odd to me as there are minutes for that meeting. Staff did state that it was an error on their part by not listing the motion as Unfinished Business. Councillor Haime took the floor to say that she had a motion but before she could continue Councillor Neary asked for a point of order as she had a supplementary follow up to the original question. Councillor Haime stated “we have no rules” to which Mayor Haime asked her to retract the remark. Councillor Haime did “take it back” with a vigorous shaking of her head. The Mayor felt the staff interpretation was completely new to him and therefore he, personally, would need a legal opinion in order to continue the meeting. When Councillor Neary continued with her remarks, Councillor Haime called Point of Order which was denied by the Mayor. When Councillor Haime got the floor, she stated “she did have the floor before Councillor Neary” and based on the comment by staff that we can start with a new motion, that she would like that to take precedent as she had her hand up first and that the Mayor had acknowledged her first. The Mayor asked for her motion. Her motion was that the density tables as written in December 2017 OCP… at which moment the Mayor interrupted her, as at this time, without a legal opinion, he could not rule whether or not that motion is still on the table or not and therefore another motion could take precedent. Councillor Haime interrupted the Mayor to move that the meeting be deferred, pending a legal opinion whether nor not the motion from the December 18 COW meeting was on the floor. Councillor Coulson seconded her motion. Motion passed with Councillors Neary, Colclough and Geselbracht opposed. Following the vote, a motion was approved to adjourn the meeting with Councillor Geselbracht opposed.
As a follow up to the Council of Whole Meeting last night, the Mayor advised staff that he has reviewed Roberts Rules of Order and he believes Councillor Neary and Ms Coates were “likely” correct in that an item under consideration gets taken up at the next scheduled meeting before any new business despite the unusual adjournment. As a result, the Mayor met with the CAO to reschedule the COW meeting to February 27th.
Another email (which was directed to Mayor Haime) has crossed my desk and with permission from Councillor Geselbracht, I have excerpted the following. “I am requesting that you take your job seriously and provide some leadership in what I consider to be a council that has become leaderless. Your inaction with respect to this OCP issue has allowed the community to become, once again, polarized with emotions running high. If you are unable or unwilling to fulfill your role as mayor then I suggest you relinquish your seat, or resign as a member of Council, and allow the rest of Council to complete the OCP review which is one of our strategic goals.” I haven’t heard if the Mayor responded to this email.
It was standing room only at this meeting.
Fun Fact: Councillor Haime raised her hand 24 times during this meeting that lasted only 38 minutes.
As of February 20, there are 241 days to the next municipal election which will be held on October 20, 2018.