The Hot Topic this Week is: Transparency & Accountability – Has it been delivered?
During this election campaign one thing has become rather clear to me. And that is all the candidates are promising us transparency and accountability. Funny thing, that’s the same thing that was promised in the last election in 2017, and the one before that in 2013, and probably the one before that. It seems to me that if transparency & accountability is still being promised in 2021, then maybe that’s because it hasn’t been delivered yet.
If this election campaign has been “dirty” as some candidates have stated, then maybe it’s because the real facts are missing in action, leaving the door open for wild speculation and reckless accusations, which can lead to a dirty campaign. Facts are solid, facts are the truth, facts are traceable, facts give us a firm base to form our opinions & decisions upon. Wild speculations & reckless accusations, on the other hand, have us ping ponging back and forth between “he said/she said” until we’re mentally and emotionally exhausted – and still confused on who and what to believe.
One suggestion to keep track of the real facts is to start recording the Council Votes in full for every vote made in Council Sessions. Record the motion made, who made it, who seconded it, and how each Councillor voted. For now, let’s call this the Council Vote Tabulator (CVT)
What I learned while doing the research for this article is that currently the only details of council voting that is recorded in the minutes is who made the motion, who seconded it and the outcome of the vote (carried or defeated). The names of each Councillor and how they voted is not recorded, unless a Councillor or the Mayor calls for the vote to be “Recorded.” Without a clear mandate for Council to automatically record all the details in every vote, we would have to depend on one of the Councillors or the Mayor to call for a Recording each and every time. What if no one calls for it? Then we’re right back to the problem that in the absence of facts, wild speculation begins.
Next, we need to ask for an easily accessible spreadsheet to be created and updated each week with the Council Vote results. I stress the words easily accessible for a reason. Have you ever tried to find information in the meeting minutes or the video? You had better be prepared to spend quite a bit of time looking for it!
Should we really have to work this hard to find out how each Councillor voted? Haven’t we essentially paid for this information? Everyone in that Council meeting room, from the Mayor, to the 6 Councillors, to the CAO to the support staff, to the very room itself – everything has been paid with our tax dollars. So if we paid for it, don’t we have the right to have access to it? And shouldn’t it be easily accessible? Should we have to pay for something, and then use our free time wading through mounds of information searching for the facts?
All the candidates are promising us transparency & accountability if they are elected to Council. Let’s provide a way for them to deliver that to us once and for all, through this proposed Council Vote Tabulation (CTV). No more wild speculations – just the facts please!
If you feel this is a reasonable request to make of our Council, then please join me in sending a clear message to them!
This is my opinion – what’s yours?
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