Council will not allow electronic participation at council meetings

Marmora and Lake - Council here has decided against allowing council members to participate in meetings via electronic means.

The topic was brought forth as a notice of motion by Deputy Mayor Mike Stevens at the December 18 meeting, where a request was made to have staff prepare a report to council on the pros and cons of allowing councillors to attend meetings remotely via electronic participation. That motion was passed at the January 15 meeting of council.

In a report from Clerk Tonia Bennett, it was recommended that council vote to not allow electronic participation. Bennett’s report pointed out a number of concerns including the lack of IT staff to facilitate the technology needed for remote access to meetings, inconsistent rural Internet access, confidentiality and privacy risks and a lack of transparency to the public.

Members who attend meetings via electronic participation would not be counted toward quorum or vote in closed meeting sessions.

Bennett also stated that only one of the 13 member municipalities in Hastings County - the Town of Bancroft - has allowed electronic participation thus far.

Councillor Bernie Donaldson agreed with Bennett’s report, stating, “I feel we were elected to be present at the meetings.”

Council voted in favour of Bennett’s recommendation to not allow members to attend meetings electronically.

Megan AbrahamComment