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
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.