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Increased transparency urged at Vernon city hall

The curtain could be lifting slightly on confidential meetings at Vernon city hall.

Council has agreed to consider, on an issue-by-issue basis, whether in-camera voting records will be released to the public.

“I want to see more transparency,” said Coun. Bob Spiers.

“We want to free people up to speak to something they truly believe in.”

While some councillors have previously disclosed how they have voted in-camera, there has been the suggestion that they are breaking provincial legislation by disclosing details from a private session.

Spiers is satisfied that voting patterns will be released in some cases, but not in all circumstances.

“Procedurally it makes sense because there are some votes that should never be declassified.”

As an example, Spiers says council discusses appointments to committees behind closed doors.

“You could be voting against certain people and that’s a privacy issue,” he said.

The new procedure has the support of Mayor Rob Sawatzky.

“There’s really no change from the past but it’s clarified that on an ad hoc basis, you don’t reveal how you vote,” Sawatzky said of individual council members.

“People were not clear about what you could and could not say.”

 

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