Carpenter slams closed door meeting

News Sep 30, 2015 by Brian Shypula Brant News

Coun. Richard Carpenter is filing a complaint of an improper closed meeting against the City of Brantford for a budget task force meeting held on Sept. 22.

Carpenter, who is a member of the task force, objected to discussion of “specific budget reduction options” being held in closed session.

“They had four items, four city facilities they’re talking about closing, and I objected to that being in camera,” he told Brant News.

Carpenter said he would not disclose the facilities in order not to be found in violation of an in-camera proceeding.

However, they’ve been discussed in a public forum many times, the Ward 4 representative said. Because individuals potentially affected by the closures weren’t specific or identifiable, the discussion should not have happened behind closed doors, he said.

Under the Municipal Act, all meetings of a municipal council, local board or a committee of either of them are open to the public with a limited number of exceptions that allow for a closed session. One of the exceptions is personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees – the reason cited on the agenda for the Sept. 22 in camera session.

Carpenter left the meeting after voting no and vowing to lodge a complaint to the Ontario ombudsman. He later rejoined his colleagues for a special meeting of city council held some 45 minutes later.

A Brant News reporter was not present for the budget task force meeting held in the Charlie Ward Room at city hall. Carpenter contacted Brant News about his complaint.

He said he also plans to bring forward a resolution to resign from the budget task force.

The other task force members are Mayor Chris Friel and councillors John Utley, Rick Weaver, David Neumann and Dan McCreary, who is the chair. Councillors Larry Kings and Brian Van Tilborg also sat in on the Sept. 22 meeting in a non-voting capacity.

“We were on solid ground to go in camera to discuss what we went in camera to discuss,” McCreary said. “We were discussing people’s employment and also discussing the kinds of things we should be talking to the union about before going public.”

Neumann voted against going in camera but stayed for most of the closed-door discussion.

“For me it was not black and white,” he said.

“The staff were feeling concerned for the staff who work in these facilities,” Neumann said.

He said he would push for “full public consultation” before any closures take place.

Friel said he and Neumann “narrowed the focus” of what was discussed in camera during the open debate.

“Quite honestly if (Carpenter) had stayed instead of storming out and been part of the mature discussion, he would have been satisfied with it,” Friel said.

The mayor said the council holds itself to high standards in decisions to go in camera. For example, council doesn’t hold closed-door “education sessions” that are permissible under the Municipal Act.

“We do everything to the letter of the law in how we manage it,” Friel said.

Carpenter disagreed.

“It’s really finite what they can do and they just stretch it like crazy,” he said.

Carpenter tried to file the complaint to the ombudsman but was redirected to Local Authority Service, a not-for-profit organization created by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO). The City of Brantford previously appointed LAS as its closed meeting investigator. The firm Amberley Gavel investigates closed-door complaints on behalf of LAS.

Amberley Gavel previously investigated a closed meeting complaint brought against Brantford by six citizens in 2010. The investigation found two of 14 meetings held by the south side of Colborne Street task force violated rules for holding closed-door meetings. Carpenter was a member of that task force.

Carpenter slams closed door meeting

News Sep 30, 2015 by Brian Shypula Brant News

Coun. Richard Carpenter is filing a complaint of an improper closed meeting against the City of Brantford for a budget task force meeting held on Sept. 22.

Carpenter, who is a member of the task force, objected to discussion of “specific budget reduction options” being held in closed session.

“They had four items, four city facilities they’re talking about closing, and I objected to that being in camera,” he told Brant News.

Carpenter said he would not disclose the facilities in order not to be found in violation of an in-camera proceeding.

However, they’ve been discussed in a public forum many times, the Ward 4 representative said. Because individuals potentially affected by the closures weren’t specific or identifiable, the discussion should not have happened behind closed doors, he said.

Under the Municipal Act, all meetings of a municipal council, local board or a committee of either of them are open to the public with a limited number of exceptions that allow for a closed session. One of the exceptions is personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees – the reason cited on the agenda for the Sept. 22 in camera session.

Carpenter left the meeting after voting no and vowing to lodge a complaint to the Ontario ombudsman. He later rejoined his colleagues for a special meeting of city council held some 45 minutes later.

A Brant News reporter was not present for the budget task force meeting held in the Charlie Ward Room at city hall. Carpenter contacted Brant News about his complaint.

He said he also plans to bring forward a resolution to resign from the budget task force.

The other task force members are Mayor Chris Friel and councillors John Utley, Rick Weaver, David Neumann and Dan McCreary, who is the chair. Councillors Larry Kings and Brian Van Tilborg also sat in on the Sept. 22 meeting in a non-voting capacity.

“We were on solid ground to go in camera to discuss what we went in camera to discuss,” McCreary said. “We were discussing people’s employment and also discussing the kinds of things we should be talking to the union about before going public.”

Neumann voted against going in camera but stayed for most of the closed-door discussion.

“For me it was not black and white,” he said.

“The staff were feeling concerned for the staff who work in these facilities,” Neumann said.

He said he would push for “full public consultation” before any closures take place.

Friel said he and Neumann “narrowed the focus” of what was discussed in camera during the open debate.

“Quite honestly if (Carpenter) had stayed instead of storming out and been part of the mature discussion, he would have been satisfied with it,” Friel said.

The mayor said the council holds itself to high standards in decisions to go in camera. For example, council doesn’t hold closed-door “education sessions” that are permissible under the Municipal Act.

“We do everything to the letter of the law in how we manage it,” Friel said.

Carpenter disagreed.

“It’s really finite what they can do and they just stretch it like crazy,” he said.

Carpenter tried to file the complaint to the ombudsman but was redirected to Local Authority Service, a not-for-profit organization created by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO). The City of Brantford previously appointed LAS as its closed meeting investigator. The firm Amberley Gavel investigates closed-door complaints on behalf of LAS.

Amberley Gavel previously investigated a closed meeting complaint brought against Brantford by six citizens in 2010. The investigation found two of 14 meetings held by the south side of Colborne Street task force violated rules for holding closed-door meetings. Carpenter was a member of that task force.

Carpenter slams closed door meeting

News Sep 30, 2015 by Brian Shypula Brant News

Coun. Richard Carpenter is filing a complaint of an improper closed meeting against the City of Brantford for a budget task force meeting held on Sept. 22.

Carpenter, who is a member of the task force, objected to discussion of “specific budget reduction options” being held in closed session.

“They had four items, four city facilities they’re talking about closing, and I objected to that being in camera,” he told Brant News.

Carpenter said he would not disclose the facilities in order not to be found in violation of an in-camera proceeding.

However, they’ve been discussed in a public forum many times, the Ward 4 representative said. Because individuals potentially affected by the closures weren’t specific or identifiable, the discussion should not have happened behind closed doors, he said.

Under the Municipal Act, all meetings of a municipal council, local board or a committee of either of them are open to the public with a limited number of exceptions that allow for a closed session. One of the exceptions is personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees – the reason cited on the agenda for the Sept. 22 in camera session.

Carpenter left the meeting after voting no and vowing to lodge a complaint to the Ontario ombudsman. He later rejoined his colleagues for a special meeting of city council held some 45 minutes later.

A Brant News reporter was not present for the budget task force meeting held in the Charlie Ward Room at city hall. Carpenter contacted Brant News about his complaint.

He said he also plans to bring forward a resolution to resign from the budget task force.

The other task force members are Mayor Chris Friel and councillors John Utley, Rick Weaver, David Neumann and Dan McCreary, who is the chair. Councillors Larry Kings and Brian Van Tilborg also sat in on the Sept. 22 meeting in a non-voting capacity.

“We were on solid ground to go in camera to discuss what we went in camera to discuss,” McCreary said. “We were discussing people’s employment and also discussing the kinds of things we should be talking to the union about before going public.”

Neumann voted against going in camera but stayed for most of the closed-door discussion.

“For me it was not black and white,” he said.

“The staff were feeling concerned for the staff who work in these facilities,” Neumann said.

He said he would push for “full public consultation” before any closures take place.

Friel said he and Neumann “narrowed the focus” of what was discussed in camera during the open debate.

“Quite honestly if (Carpenter) had stayed instead of storming out and been part of the mature discussion, he would have been satisfied with it,” Friel said.

The mayor said the council holds itself to high standards in decisions to go in camera. For example, council doesn’t hold closed-door “education sessions” that are permissible under the Municipal Act.

“We do everything to the letter of the law in how we manage it,” Friel said.

Carpenter disagreed.

“It’s really finite what they can do and they just stretch it like crazy,” he said.

Carpenter tried to file the complaint to the ombudsman but was redirected to Local Authority Service, a not-for-profit organization created by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO). The City of Brantford previously appointed LAS as its closed meeting investigator. The firm Amberley Gavel investigates closed-door complaints on behalf of LAS.

Amberley Gavel previously investigated a closed meeting complaint brought against Brantford by six citizens in 2010. The investigation found two of 14 meetings held by the south side of Colborne Street task force violated rules for holding closed-door meetings. Carpenter was a member of that task force.