CFN – Bernadette Clement is known for her long speeches at council. She’s studied well at the feet of Mayor Bob Kilger and while not as polished as the long time MP, has a way of using up minutes at council while saying very little of substance.
Monday April 16th Council voted to replace Leslie O’Shaugnessy with the 11th vote getter in the 2010 election, Gerry Samson. While Mr. Samson has to qualify as per the Municipal act to take his seat; he was chosen as per the by laws for the city have been practicing for at least seven years or the 2005 procedural by laws.
Procedural By Laws of course are reviewed, tinkered with, and changed. Council have been very odd though with the 2012 changes. Why the secrecy and strange explanations? The 2005 by law clearly states that the choice of council, of the options available from the Municipal act that supersedes all, is to choose a replacement in descending order.
Imagine a mayors race that say one candidate loses by say…. 5%. If something should happen to the sitting mayor and they had to step down would any other solution fit other than placing the second finisher at the helm of power?
The 2010 by law cleaned up the wording, but essentially stated the same route.
And it was no surprise that Council unanimously voted to replace Councilor O’Shaughnessy with 11th place finisher Gerald Samson. Council has the right of course to pass new by laws, but why the spin and obvious false statements about the new by law passed?
What are the real reasons that a city that lived by the Democratic choice of the voters, who they are responsible to serve, would change a law that would allow not only a councilor to be “chosen” via the Office of the Mayor, but also appoint someone to fill the seat of mayor if needed?
And to do so without clearly outlining the process in the new by law?
Video excerpt from City of Cornwall April 10th Council Session
Does Queen Bernadette Clement, whose day job as a lawyer makes her explanation even more boggling make any sense to you?
A reflection of the municipal act? The past two by laws were fair dinkum according to the Municipal act. What odd reasoning?
Again, her quote from another media blog:
The preferred method is outlined in the city’s procedural bylaw, which was under review at council’s regular meeting Tuesday evening.
The wording was changed slightly, adding the option for council to appoint any eligible resident, as the Municipal Act stipulates.
“It allows us as many opportunities as possible to make a decision,” said Coun. Bernadette Clement, who was part of the committee that suggested the changes. “It broadens our ability to make decisions that reflect what council wants.”
Here is the new wording. Do you think it’s been changed slightly?
So we’ve split the procedure into two sections from one. Is that slight? And we’ve departed from seven years of ascending replacement to um, appointing people… That’s doesn’t sound slight either does it?
Again, as of the 23rd a councilor or the mayor can be replaced if their seat becomes vacant by appointing Goober from Montreal Road, or someone’s hair dresser, or maybe Rob from Riley’s Bakery. Yes, it’s legal under the municipal act, but why the change and why go to all this trouble to change a by law if you were going to use ascension anyway? Odd no?
Councilor Thibault Pulls a Guy Lauzon to CFN
So why is one of my favorite all time councilors in Cornwall behaving in this manner to CFN??
Councilor Grant kinda gets it and talks about the public’s furor over all of the In Camera meetings.
And what is it with Syd Gardiner complaining every meeting? Firemen, CFN, and now the media in general. WARNING – This clip has a long Bernadette Clement speech!
Councilor Carr asks if the changes are “drastic”. Our Clerk delivers the Spin.
Again, it’s not about what’s already in the municipal act, but how the City has chosen to change what’s been written.
What “misinformation” has been shared with the public? I’d love to know that.
Speaking of Madame Clerk, she answered some media questions finally! Not to CFN and thanks to Greg Kielec from The Journal for help with some files.
1. Why was the bylaw revamped just two years after orginal bylaw passed?
Procedural Bylaws are, on an ongoing basis, reviewed and amended where required. This particular revision had several revisions noted and when that is the case, a new Bylaw is offered rather than amending the many areas….some of the revisions were formatting changes, typos , word change and inserting additional clauses. Always better to repeal and replace in cases such as this.
The original Bylaw dates back to when the Council was created back in the 40’s or 50’s so this is not ORIGINAL as you state.
Members of Council, periodically, may see an area of the Bylaw that they would like changed and the change is done with an amending bylaw. The Clerk’s office also reviews the Procedural Bylaw on an ongoing basis to make sure that it adheres to any change in provincial legislation and if needed, requests that the Bylaw be amended.
Procedural Bylaws are what we call a breathing document that is always reviewed to better the manner in which Members of Council do business.
It is usually recommended that the Bylaw be amended when the change is minor in nature, however in this case, similar to in 2005, again in 2010 when the recommended amendments are spread through the document it is usually recommended to repeal and replace the bylaw with the revised one.
An overall review is generally conducted on The Procedural Bylaw at least once in every new term.
2. Who authorized/initiated the procedural bylaw review committee?
This has been an item of discussion since the beginning of last year, however because of circumstances, the committee was identified only at the beginning of 2012. The clerk usually recommends that the review be conducted.
3. At what council meeting was the committee formed to revamp this bylaw?
January 9, 2012. After the Christmas Break, All Members of Council were present at the meeting and Mayor Kilger asked, all Members of the Council who would be interested and have the time to sit with the Clerk on an Ad-Hoc Committee basis to review the Procedural Bylaw . Three Members came forward.
4. Who was the committee size and membership chosen?
Committee was three Members of Council, Councillors Bernadette Clement, Maurice Dupelle, Denis Thibault and myself.
5. Can you provide meeting dates, minutes and motions from this committee?
Meetings dates were called for February 15th, March 5th. The Procedural Bylaw was provided to the selected Committee Members during the week of January 9th, to begin individual reviews and time to prepare their opinions and comments on the proposed changes . Other correspondence was conducted by e-mail transmission.
There are no minutes or motions . Basically we work off the Procedural Bylaw and note where changes are suggested.
Suggested changes are then prepared in accordance to committee and re-sent for further review. Once the review of the Procedural Bylaw is completed and the Members believe that is ready for Council’s review it is sent to all Members of Council for their review. The Procedural Bylaw was sent in its edited red-line form to all Members of Council on the 14th of March, indicating that the proposed changes would be on the Agenda of March 26th under Notice and on the April 10th meeting for adoption.
Members of Council are encouraged to provide their comments and/or additional suggestions to the Committee prior to it being endorsed.
5. The section on Resignation-Member-Vacancies has been significantly changed from 2010 bylaw. Why and to achieve what end?
The changes are consistent with what is written in the Municipal Act. The Municipal Act, always supercedes a municipal Bylaw, and the changes incorporated within the Bylaw compliment what the Act reflects as well as offering the Council with an opportunity to select the next elibible candate who ran in the last municipal election. Although the changes seem significant, they are in reality the same choices they had in the past, simply written in a different format.
6. Is the revamped bylaw now in effect despite the changes that Councillor Grant asked be made?
The proposed changes, including the changes suggested by Councillor Grant and endorsed by Council through Resolution 2012-07 and are in effect. The Bylaw will be prepared in its final state and presented at the April 23rd meeting.
7. Why was the amended bylaw not included in the media packages or published on the city website prior to Monday’s meeting?
quite frankly, i forgot. You did get a copy that I was able to scan for your review.
So there you go learned and intelligent viewers of The Cornwall Free News. Hopefully we in the media have added some clarity to some of the misinformation spread by some members of council regarding these drastic and potentially non-Democratic changes implemented by 9 of the same elected officials who changed the same by law in 2010.
You can of course always post your comments below.