Sensitive subjects

Sensitive subjects

July 6, 2020

6 July, 2020

We received three complaints about a chaotic meeting of council for the Municipality of West Nipissing in March 2019.

We received three complaints about a chaotic meeting of council for the Municipality of West Nipissing in March 2019. A portion of the meeting was closed under the exception for “personal matters” in order to discuss an item on the agenda listed as “Municipal Act/Roles & Responsibilities.” Witnesses described the heated arguments that soon followed – which touched on the relationship between council and staff – as “toxic,” disrespectful and “intense.” The Ombudsman found that the meeting was illegal, as the discussion did not fit within any of the closed meeting exceptions. He explained that the mere fact that a topic is sensitive does not mean it can be discussed in closed session, and he cautioned that in future, council should ensure that its business is carried out in an efficient and effective manner.