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City of Whitehorse looks to change meeting policy

Legislative Services Manager Catherine Constable addresses council Tuesday night. Photo: Tim Kucharuk/CKRW.

In search of more honest discussion, there's a proposal to restrict council and administration meetings outside of formal council meetings to council and staff only.

The City of Whitehorse is considering a policy where open Council and Senior Management meetings would be scrapped in favour of a Council and Administration Roundtable which would be closed to the public.

Council heard about the proposed new policy at Tuesday night's meeting from Legislative Services Manager Catherine Constable. She says the roundtable would be chaired by administration, adhere to clear guidelines, and support more frank, efficient, and productive discussion.

"The emphasis is to try and keep the sessions at a working level where there are no commitments being made that are binding the city," Constable told council. "The commitments that bind the city are made in Standing Committee leading on to council where the actual decisions are made."

Councillor Samson Hartland says the new policy should keep with the city's transparency practices.

"I think we've done an excellent job as a city to continue to be more and more transparent through its decision making," Hartland said. "We've got voting records, attendance records, travel budgets. I know that I've pushed for more transparency. I'm hoping what's being proposed today stays in that same vein."

In answering questions from Council, Constable says she is not sure if other jurisdictions have the same practice, and notes from the roundtable would be available internally to staff and council.

The policy will come back to council for a vote next week. 

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