Revote Policy Rescinded

Robert Thomas

A policy which would have allowed all letters addressed to and from Council members or the Mayor to be brought forth by a Council member unless the author refused lasted just two weeks, as a re-vote on the initiative shot it down in flames.

In speaking against the necessity to re-vote Councillor Brian Swanson asked what the reason was for the re-vote.

Coun Swanson stated that the policy should be approved and gave a large number of reasons.

The reasons included fear of public speaking, having their name or photograph published on an Internet news service, shift work or family commitments which should allow residents to write in their concerns and have them addressed.

“It seems to apply only to citizens of Moose Jaw,” Swanson claimed, going on to highlight how Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation gets its Recreation month approved by Council by simply writing in and requesting it’s approval without ever appearing.

“I don’t understand the difference,” he said.

“To me it is a very serious request if you want to write a letter to the Mayor and Council it gets on the agenda,” he said.

Councillor Chris Warren said it was Council's responsibility to “reach out to citizens.”

“It’s difficult to make an informed decision without information at hand,” Coun Warren said.

The revote on the two week old policy was called by Councillor Crystal Froese who made the request under Section 28 Bylaw 5176 The Procedure Bylaw. The Bylaw allows votes from the previous meeting to be reconsidered.

Swanson initially introduced the previously approved policy after hearing from a resident who is disabled regarding their garbage and recycling. The resident wanted to be able to deal with her concerns by letter and a Council member representing their concerns.

Coun Swanson pointed out that before the initial vote the new policy would ensure Council members could better represent residents.

With a three-to-three tie that had Coun Froese, Coun Warren and Mayor Tolmie opposed to the original policy, the policy was defeated. According to the rules, any tie vote is declared as a no vote.

At present and since the resignation of Councillor Don Mitchell, Council has only six members. After the October 17th Byelection there will again be seven Council members.