Out-of-town breakdown

Out-of-town breakdown

July 6, 2020

6 July, 2020

As noted in last year’s Annual Report, we received 77 complaints in February 2019 about a City of Hamilton committee’s decision to meet outside of the city – the highest number of complaints we have ever received in a single closed meeting case.

As noted in last year’s Annual Report, we received 77 complaints in February 2019 about a City of Hamilton committee’s decision to meet outside of the city – the highest number of complaints we have ever received in a single closed meeting case. At issue were two meetings by the City Manager Recruitment Steering Committee, which were held at a resort 60 km away in Niagara-on-the-Lake, in order to interview job applicants.

The Ombudsman found that the meetings did not violate the Municipal Act, but the open portion of the first meeting was illegally closed to the public due to “a breakdown in communication” between the city, its recruitment firm and the venue. A citizen’s group that arrived at 9 a.m. to protest during the open session of the meeting discovered that the time had been changed without notice and it was already over; security staff at the venue then ordered them off the property. 

The Ombudsman found that the city’s failure to ensure that the public could attend the open session constituted an illegal meeting. He recommended that council members be vigilant in ensuring that the open meeting rules are followed and that the city update its procedural by-law to ensure public notice is provided for all committee meetings.