CORNWALL, Ontario - City councillors want access to council meeting agendas well in advance of meetings.
Councillors passed a motion Tuesday night calling for agenda items to be provided to them a full week-and-a-half prior to council meetings.
The move has been met with some expressions of concern from managers, who are unsure if they can meet the new deadlines.
“It’s certainly challenging to do it as proposed,” said city CAO Norm Levac. “But we absolutely understand and appreciate where council is coming from.”
Councillors are frustrated because they currently receive the meeting agenda on the Friday prior to a Monday meeting. They complain that it is difficult to formulate an opinion on a specific subject under such a schedule.
Some councillors are also frustrated that the agenda goes out to the public at the same time, because it can lead to media queries.
“As elected officials we’re asked to make quite a few decisions…and the packages at every council meeting are quite lengthy,” said Coun. Maurice Dupelle, the architect of the plan.
The Tuesday council meeting brought with it a 384-page information package that was provided to councillors.
“Now what happens is the press gets it at the same time we do,” said Coun. Andre Rivette. “We’re getting called sometimes and we have no idea what is in the agenda.”
City clerk Helen Finn said changing the release of agenda items may not solve the problems, since it’s her belief not doing so may contravene municipal policy concerning closed-door agenda items.