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Ombudsman Report Released Regarding Morris-Turnberry Closed Meetings - Fire Department Land Purchase
Date: 2012-09-19 14:26:12

Get you own copy of the report and read for yourself.

Some Highlights

The Ombudsman is the closed meeting investigator for the Municipality of Morris-Turnberry.

Under the Municipal Act, all meetings of Council are required to be open to the public, with limited exceptions and subject to certain procedural requirements.

Morris-Turnberry had closed meetings on November 22, December 6, and December 20, 2011.

November 22 Meeting:
Clerk left the meeting for a short period of time at the Council's request. The Clerk did not delegate another staff member to record the minutes in her absence.  As you are aware, the Act requires that the Clerk "record...all resolutions, decisions and other proceedings of the council", including closed meetings, unless he/she delegates that authority to another person, other than a member of council.

We noted that the exception "security of the property" was also cited as a reason for closing the meeting.  You stated that the exception related to the report on fire suppression options but could not recall way it was applied, given the time that had passed since the meeting.

The subject matter discussed in the closed meeting does not fit within the 'security of the property' exception.  As stated, the discussion focused on land acquisition and, any general discussion regarding the fire suppression options would not normally be considered confidential information that falls within any on the exceptions under the Act permitting closed meeting consideration.

December 20 Meeting:
The Clerk advised that the December 20, 2011 meeting was the first opportunity that Council had to consider the by-laws to purchase the properties in a public meeting. Although the agreements were signed on November 23 and November 24.

However, Council's closed session discussion of a potential leak of information and the need for a Code of Conduct was not permitted under any of the enumerated exceptions in the Municipal Act.

As discussed, Council must be careful to ensure that only matters that pertain directly to the cited exception(s) authorizing the closed meeting are discussed.

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