Hall Monitor: Integrity Versus Reality

Kingston City Council Meetings, #ygkcLast night, city council, staff and the public gathered in City Hall for Kingston City Council meeting number 03-2014. The city has published the agenda online… but there were no addeds, oddly.

For the most part, last night’s meeting came down to one topic. Yes, a few other things happened – council confirmed the borrowing by-law and set the interim tax levy (as they do every January), approved some capital spending for two affordable housing projects, updated the fees for false fire alarms caused by malfunctioning systems and approved a new sand and salt storage facility at the St. Lawrence Business Park.

The motion of the night was the “Appointment of City of Kingston Integrity Commissioner”, as presented by the Administrative Policies Committee. The debate on this one centred around two items, mostly: the cost – $50,000.00 – and the need. This position would, unlike the temporary appointment a few weeks ago, would be a permanent addition to city staff, and would serve to answer complaints (from council, individual councillors or the public) but couldn’t levy punishment (but could reccomend to council that a penalization was appropriate. An attempt to defer the motion until after the current integrity issue lost 7-6; and the final motion carried, 7-6, with councillors Downes, Glover, Hutchison, Neill, Osanic and Schell opposed. An RFP process will now begin to fill this position, but no date has been set for them to start.

The complete Tweet stream is below. The next meeting of council is on January 21 in council chambers, but a scheduling conflict has me not at that meeting, so I’ll be back on February 4th to live-tweet that meeting. See you then!

  • 7:38 PM: DING! 7:37pm start time. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:39 PM: We start with a rise from the closed session without a report. @MayorOfKingston confirms no added to tonight’s 19-page agenda. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:41 PM: Only one pecuniary interest tonight, from @JimNeill3 on an item on 70 Barbara Ave because he has a property next to it. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:42 PM: We’re getting presentations from Harry Jemmett, presenting the 2014 inductees to the Kingston & District Sports Hall of Fame. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:48 PM: My browser won’t let me test, but the stream should be live at http://t.co/MyTgnzbkD8 #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:51 PM: Gallery members here for the hall of fame announcement are leaving the room… and our gallery drops by 90%. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:52 PM: One petition opposing a permanent noise exemption to Queen’s gets read, and a single motion of Condolence. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:53 PM: We’re into report 18 from the CAO (Concent); a few separations, so we’ll deal with the rest first. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:54 PM: The bulk of the report carries 13-0. We go back to a noise exemption near highway 401 and Joyceville Rd. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:55 PM: The item was separated for a quick question from Coun. Scott, then carried 13-0. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:58 PM: Some Q&A between @JimNeill3 and staff on the number of units at 510 Canatara being geared-to-income. Carried 13-0. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:01 PM: A few questions about the proposed development at 70 Barbara Ave from Coun. Hutchison. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:02 PM: And a question about accessibility from @councillorberg; staff says units would be semi-accessible. Carries 12-0. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:03 PM: We’re into report 19 from the CAO (Recommend). Opens with a briefing from the Fire Chief, Rheaume Chaput. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:06 PM: Chaput opened by explaining the difference between false alarms (due to poorly maintained systems) and automatic alarms. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:10 PM: Chaput says lots of other communities have false alarm by-laws; says the one proposed is best practice. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:14 PM: Chief Chaput confirms to Coun. Hutchison that responses to alarms to things like a “burnt turkey” wouldn’t trigger a fine. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:18 PM: Coun. Osanic asks about comparable fines. Chaput details fine schedule (per-call). Says other cities charge per truck. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:19 PM: Minor wording amendment (Because of the motion being deferred) carries 13-0, as does the motion as amended. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:21 PM: We move to Report 20 from the APC; only one item: setting up the hiring of an Integrity Commissioner. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:22 PM: This would be a new staff position, with a $50,000.00 budget and would be hired through an RFP process. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:23 PM: @DorothyAHector asks to speak last; and a quick check confirms she can. Comments open from Coun. Downes. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:24 PM: Coun. Downes says this is a bureaucratic solution to a democratic problem. Would rather see a council-driven solution. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:26 PM: Coun. Downes says that Toronto’s integrity commissioner isn’t getting enough work. Says solution may be 2 or 3 year terms. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:27 PM: Coun. Downes says that censure motions presented at council would be a working solution. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:28 PM: @JimNeill3 starts to make comparisons to the single-issue integrity hiring recently; is reminded to stick to this motion. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:29 PM: @JimNeill3 says he wants to see how the “pilot study” plays out before making this type of addition permanent. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:31 PM: @JimNeill3 says he’d support a motion of deferral, but doesn’t move one. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:33 PM: @MayorOfKingston reminds council to keep comments to this item, and not any other potential items if they exist. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:34 PM: Solicitor Linscott confirms to @MayorOfKingston that an integrity commissioner couldn’t speak during in-camera meetings. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:36 PM: Coun. Schell asks about a higher authority. Linscott says the IC’s role would be an inquiry, not prosecution. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:37 PM: Linscott says that the IC would make recommendations to council. It would council who would levy any punishments. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:39 PM: Linscott says that council (as a whole), an individual member of council or any member of the public could make a complaint. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:40 PM: Coun. Schell says she wants to know more about the position and process before she can support it. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:43 PM: Coun. Paterson says that other levels of government have this position. Says this would boost public trust. Supports the motion. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:45 PM: Coun. Hutchison says that this motion is incomplete. Says this covers “what” would be done, but not “how”. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:47 PM: Coun. Hutchison wants this deferred to write a complaint protocol. Also wants to see results from the “situation” in process. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:51 PM: Coun. Downes calls a pt of order, saying the @MayorOfKingston’s request to have Coun. Hutchison write the deferral is wrong. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:52 PM: @MayorOfKingston, in response to Coun. Downes says motions must be in writing, and that includes deferrals. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:58 PM: Now a quick review of the proposal is being requested by the city solicitor. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:59 PM: The deferral asks to report back with a complaint protocol, and the report from George Rust d’Eye. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:00 PM: Deferral loses 7-6; Coun. Downes, Coun. Glover, Coun. Hutchison, @JimNeill3, Coun. Osanic, Coun. Schell in favour. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:02 PM: Coun. Glover says that the report that came back to the APC doesn’t have everything requested. Missing pros and cons of position. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:03 PM: He adds that this would be an officer of the council; but this would be an appointment that doesn’t include council. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:04 PM: He says $50k isn’t enough to spend, too. Compares our code of conduct and lacking of a complaint protocol to other cities. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:07 PM: Coun. Osanic says she’s not in support; cites timing. Wants to finish the existing possible issues before adding to the list. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:10 PM: Coun. George says he’s concerned about others acting like everyone is already doing things wrong. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:11 PM: Coun. George says that the item tonight includes creations of some of the protocol. The proposed IC would work with council on it. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:12 PM: Coun. George says this council has already deferred some items to the next and they need to make some to “live or die” in elxn yr. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:13 PM: Coun. Scott makes a brief statement, then says he will be supporting the motion. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:15 PM: Coun. Reitzel says that self-policing doesn’t work within a council, and will be supporting the motion. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:16 PM: @MayorOfKingston says he doesn’t know why some members are confused about the item. Says they’ve had lots of time to research. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:18 PM: @MayorOfKingston says that he isn’t sure why members, too, would be opposed to bringing in an additional resource. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:20 PM: @DorothyAHector says other communities who have an integrity commissioner see an increased confidence in their council. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:22 PM: @DorothyAHector says timing means this council can use its experience to help draft the policy for the new council. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:23 PM: @DorothyAHector says this would change the “gong show” perception of council. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:24 PM: Item carries 7-6; Coun. Downes, Coun. Glover, Coun. Hutchison, @JimNeill3, Coun. Osanic, Coun. Schell opposed. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:25 PM: Kingston City council confirms in 7-6 vote the hiring of a $50k/yr integrity commissioner. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:25 PM: We move to report 21 from the EITP, both items carry 13-0. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:26 PM: Quick addition of a member to the taxi commission under misc business carries 13-0, too. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:27 PM: We’re getting a notice of motion from Coun. Scott with Coun. Reitzel seconding. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:28 PM: Specifically, the motion is asking staff to research increased transit and access bus services to the rural area. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:29 PM: That motion, by the way, will be on the February 4th meeting agenda. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:30 PM: And we move into by-laws. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:33 PM: By-laws clear. We’re adjourned. 9:33pm. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:33 PM: Thanks for following along tonight. Watch for a recap and the full tweet feed on our site tomorrow! #ygkc ^TV

Thanks to reneilet for today’s original photo.

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