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Council to rule on labour-related delegations

City clerks department previously chose which items appeared on council’s agenda

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

City council will now decide whether or not to receive delegations regarding labour relations.

At its latest meeting, council approved an amendment to the city’s procedural bylaw.

The city clerks department previously chose whether to place such delegations on the council agenda.

Over the past month, Ward 5 regional councillor Brian Nicholson repeatedly questioned why council isn’t making the decision.

Staff will continue to decide whether delegations relating to employee performance and ongoing legal matters appear on the agenda.

Nicholson said the amendment was a “very tiny step,” but he isn’t satisfied.

“We have rules that say to people ‘you can’t speak to your council, even if council wanted to hear from you.’ It makes no sense to me,” Nicholson said.

He claimed no other municipality in Durham Region has such a rule.

However, Ward 3 regional councillor Bob Chapman said the region itself does.

“This is the practice at the region. These items do not come to council,” Chapman said. “They do not come directly to council by somebody wanting to make a delegation on these matters.”

Ward 4 regional councillor Rick Kerr said there are valid reasons why these delegations shouldn’t be made publicly.

Earlier in the meeting, Mayor Dan Carter declined to allow a delegation addressing an appeal of the city’s recently passed development charge bylaw.

Kerr used this example in speaking in favour not changing the procedural bylaw. “It was inappropriate. That [was] properly not delegated for council to make a discussion on in front of the public,” he said.

Labour relations should happen between management and union members, not with council, Kerr added.

“Council does not do the negotiation, council does not do the staff performance, and council does not do the labour relations,” Kerr said. But Ward 1 city councillor Rosemary McConkey contended council should be more open in allowing delegations because it could provide more insight to the public.

Nicholson said it comes down to accountability, transparency, and respect for the taxpayer.

The amendment passed by a seven to four vote, with Kerr, Chapman, Carter and Ward 2 regional councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri opposed.