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When is it time for council to listen?

Coun. Arjun Singh (sitting, right) listens in as the community provides feedback during a public budget information session in February.
May 01, 2014 - 4:39 PM

KAMLOOPS — Just how involved councillors should be on committees was briefly discussed in council chambers this week and it is one that could be visited more often as councillors appear to jockey for position heading into a fall election.

Coun. Nelly Dever told council back in November that councillors were speaking too much during the roundtable budget information sessions, based on feedback she was getting from the public.

“There have been a couple requests that we don’t engage as much with staff during these meetings to allow the public more time with staff,” she said after she had heard a lot of positive feedback and that people seemed to prefer the roundtable format to open mic.

This week Dever noticed Coun. Marg Spina made a series of motions at the Parks and Recreation Committee meeting and felt uncomfortable with the prospect of a councillor basically leading a meeting.

“I’ve noticed through the minutes that we have a lot of motions made by Coun. Spina and I was under the impression when we sit on a committee we do not put motions forward and we do not vote,” Dever said in seeking clarification.

While the terms of reference for each committee specifies whether a councillor can vote or not Mayor Peter Milobar agreed he also tries to avoid putting motion forwards or voting when he sits on a non-council committee.

“Unless it’s just city councillors and myself on it, I generally don’t vote or make motions because I’ll be dealing with it here,” he said, “but it’s always a bit of a gray area and if you’re not technically breaking the terms of reference for your committee (it’s allowed.)”

Of the eight members currently sitting around the council table all but one have announced their intentions to run for re-election this year. The one who has not, Coun. Nelly Dever, will be making her decision by the end of the month.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
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