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Council split on who should approve certain delegations

Nicholson says elected officials should decide whether or not to discuss employee, labour and legal matters

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

A debate on who should decide what matters are brought to council’s attention will continue.

At its latest meeting, council sent potential changes to the city’s procedural bylaw back to committee for further review.

At this point, the city clerks department decides which correspondence and delegations appear on agendas.

To Ward 5 regional councillor Brian Nicholson this is a flaw in the system.

Nicholson wants council to decide it will accept delegations or correspondence relating to employee performance, labour relations or ongoing legal matters.

Earlier this month, the corporate services committee voted in favour of the status quo.

But when the report came to council, that direction was defeated by a split vote.

Immediately after, Nicholson attempted to have the policy changed, but his motion lost on another tie vote.

He said publicly elected officials should determine who they want to hear from.

“That’s the basic tenant of how our government system works in this country. It’s not unique just to this council,” he said.

Giving the clerks department the final say puts them in a “no-win” situation, he adds.

“It doesn’t matter what the staff member decides, somebody is going to think they made the wrong decision,” he said.

Ward 3 city councillor Bradley Marks said Nicholson’s plan would put council and staff in a “financial and negotiation landmine.”

Marks said some councillors were ignoring the legal ramifications, and the real fight is with the provincial government, which manages the Municipal Act.