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The Ombudsman found that two informal gatherings of newly elected councillors for the Town of Kearney did not violate the Municipal Act, 2001, as the councillors had not yet been sworn in and there was therefore no quorum of the current council present. However, these gatherings involved discussions of future council business and were therefore inconsistent with the principles of transparency and openness underlying the open meeting requirements.
The Ombudsman reviewed a special closed meeting held by council for the Town of Kearney that relied on the “litigation or potential litigation” exception to discuss a rezoning application. As with any rezoning matter, there was a possibility that council’s decision would be appealed. However, the possibility of appeal is not sufficient to bring a matter within the realm of potential litigation. The Ombudsman found that council lacked the degree of certainty necessary to make the potential for litigation a reasonable prospect. Therefore, the matter did not fit within the exception for litigation or potential litigation.
The Ombudsman reviewed a special closed meeting held by the Town of Kearney that relied on the “litigation or potential litigation” exception to discuss a rezoning application. The complaint alleged that prior notice of the meeting had not been given. The Ombudsman found that the Town provided advance notice of the August 25, 2010 special meeting, in accordance with the Town's procedure by-law.