Question raised on council

Protocol and procedures for council questioned after recent meetings.

Dear editor,

I attended the May 6 Port McNeill council meeting to ask two questions regarding protocol.

The first question pertained to policies for open and closed meetings of council. There had been discussion at a previous meeting regarding issues with informal meetings.

Municipal councils’ powers and responsibilities are regulated through the Local Government Act of British Columbia and the Community Charter. The general rule is that meetings must be open to the public. There are circumstances where meetings may or must be closed to the public. Before holding a meeting or part of a meeting that is to be closed to the public, a council must state the basis, by resolution passed in a public meeting. This information was derived from the Community Charter. Informal meetings invite issues, especially if there are no minutes taken as to what was discussed.

My second question pertained to the letters Mayor Furney issues to the media, other mayors, chairs, councillors and regional directors in B.C. I question the ethics of these independent submissions that are given weight by using an elected position of power. These are personal opinions. They should not be signed Mayor of Port McNeill or be submitted on town letterhead.

I asked the councillors if they agreed with the content of the letters. I believe they are totally unaware and not consulted when these letters are issued.

I question these autocratic procedures. I would hope that our municipal representatives act for us in a fair, democratic and non-partisan manner.

We have come a long way since 1961 when Port McNeill was a logging camp. The standards and expectations for elected officials have progressed.

Gwen Alsop

Port McNeill