Best of 2013: Hall Monitor: Late to the Party

Chris James Summer Clearance Sale

Twice a month our loyal followers tune in to Twitter to catch #ygkc, a play-by-play (tweet-by-tweet) of the proceedings inside City Hall’s council chambers. This past year, City Council meetings went on a mini-road trip, as they were hosted at various venues around the Limestone City, while Council Chambers were being renovated to provide for much-needed technological upgrades.  Although criticized for being dysfunctional at times, drama played out as our City Council debated issues ranging from casinos to bike lanes, electoral boundaries to ethics commissioners, and everything in between.  Recognized as the first to offer live streaming video of Council Meetings, #ygck is made possible by the tireless efforts of Tommy Vallier, our dedicated resident expert on local municipal politics.  His regular Hall Monitor series included this featured piece on the recent turmoil regarding the OMB ruling on electoral boundaries and supposed conflict of interest.  Stay tuned in 2014 as we watch how this local political drama will unfold.
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Hall Monitor: Late to the Party

Kingston City Council Meetings, #ygkcLast night, city council, staff and the public gathered in City Hall for Kingston City Council meeting number 01-2014. The city has published the agenda and addeds online.

Our meeting last night was, for the most part, a quick one – clocking in at just about an hour and a half. Very little major “meat” to the main meeting, too; with council passing some changes to penalties to false fire alarms, changing some of the way the solid waste by-law is worded with respect to garbage on snow drifts, discussion on mayoral portraits or paintings, new committee appointments and some discussion on the city’s projected population growth. There was a motion, too, asking staff to review commercial zoning rules for Kingsotn East. The excitement, really, happened behind the closed doors of the upstairs “in-camera” meeting, which caused the meeting to start about one hour and 18 minutes late.

Normally, when council meets behind closed doors, they don’t report; but last night, they did. Specifically, they reported publicly to take a vote to hire in George Rust-D’Eye, of Toronto, as an Integrity Commissioner to look into conduct during the recent OMB hearing. Councillor Glover excused himself on a pecuniary interest – suggesting that he would be the target of that investigation and that the outcome could cost or earn him money – and the vote carried 8-4, with Councillors Downes, Hutchison, Neill and Osanic opposed. That’s all we’ll hear about this until the new year, I’d imagine.

Our complete Tweet stream is below. We’re into the last year of this council’s term, so report numbers have reset and meetings are now being dated 2014. Their next meeting is December 17th.

  • 7:23 PM: All set up and ready to go. First meeting of the last year of this council’s term. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:32 PM: Looks like we’re running a little late. No sign of council yet. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:00 PM: So, we’re 30 minutes late and counting at #ygkc. Still no sign of councillors or key staff. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:03 PM: This closed session, by the way, is to discuss three items subject to solicitor-client privilege. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:04 PM: Transit Downtown Transfer Point options, the J.K. Tett Centre and Actions & Conduct of a person under contract by the city. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:05 PM: The agenda says this closed session will rise without a report; but that can be amended upon the meeting starting. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:24 PM: Councillors have come in and are taking their seats. We’ll be starting soon. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:26 PM: Seeing coats/hats at every seat; looks like we have all 13 present tonight. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:30 PM: Fun aside: Expect extra bell rings as the meeting begins. Naval tradition dictates the bell rings to indicate the passage of time. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:38 PM: I’ve got the camera up at http://t.co/MyTgnzbkD8. I’ll turn on audio when the meeting begins. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:41 PM: Approaching 1 hour, 15 minutes late to start. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:43 PM: Clerk just left; start is imminent. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:48 PM: DING DING! Away we go. 8:47pm start. We’re getting s snapshot as to why we’re so late. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:49 PM: We’re getting a motion to report on the closed session. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:50 PM: Carries 12-1; only Coun. Osanic opposed. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:51 PM: There’s a motion coming from the closed session; appointing George Rust-D’Eye as integrity commissioner. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:52 PM: This would be for the purpose of an inquiry into the matter dealt with in closed session on report 14-022. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:52 PM: Carried 8-4; Coun. Downes, Coun. Hutchison, @JimNeill3 and Coun. Osanic opposed. Coun. Glover was out on conflict. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:53 PM: Addeds carry 13-0. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:55 PM: Conflicts from Coun. George and Coun. Hutchison declared; and we move into delegations. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:57 PM: We’re into a delegation from Anastasia Litner with Ecojustice about the Great Lakes Protection Act on tonight’s agenda. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:01 PM: Into petitions. There’s a single one with 125 signatures that reads “Kingston says no to the circus”. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:02 PM: @MayorOfKingston #mayorjokes that it’s straight and to the point. Draws comparison to long ones from Coun. Osanic. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:04 PM: Motions of congratulations and condolences carry. We move into Report number 1 from closed meeting. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:05 PM: It carries 13-0; and we go into Report 2 (CAO, Consent). New council year means tiny report numbers. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:07 PM: The bulk of report 2 carries; and we move into the separations; starting with one on sees for automatic alarms (false). #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:08 PM: @JimNeill3 says that they’ve heard from fire staff that this could lead to disabling alarms. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:09 PM: The fire chief starts commenting on the comment… and says this has already been reviewed with other cities. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:10 PM: The item carries, 7-6. @councillorberg, @DorothyAHector, Coun. Paterson, Coun. Reitzel, Coun. Schell, Coun. Scott opposed. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:12 PM: Next we get a renaming of Bur Brook Road East and West. Coun. Scott praising staff for the work. Carries 13-0. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:13 PM: Last item in this report is the Community Investment Fund 2013 recommendations. First part carries 13-0. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:14 PM: Coun. Hutchison out on a pecuniary for the last one; and it carries 12-0. We move to report 3 from the CAO (Recommend). #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:15 PM: Report 3, which was an update on the 7 Wright Cr project, carries 12-0. (Coun. Hutchison out on pecuniary). #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:16 PM: Into report 4 from planning; starting with a briefing on population, housing and employment projections. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:23 PM: There was some discussion during this planning about federal jobs in #ygk. They’re making the assumption that they’ll stay stable. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:27 PM: Projections are showing population in #ygk will stabilize around 2021, and start to fall a bit in 2031. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:28 PM: That’s based on boomers/post-war numbers starting to fall. Speaker says he’s not expecting to see that dip. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:30 PM: They are suggesting the city’s estimated population for 2026 be changed from 133,100 to 141,900. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:34 PM: Population forecasts don’t include post-secondary students; they’re generally not living in #ygk in May when the census is taken. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:34 PM: Their impact (jobs, spending, etc) is factored into the projections and economic forecasts, though. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:35 PM: That report is receiver unanimously; and the second motion carries unanimously as well. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:37 PM: We move into Report 5; 2013 audit plan and tax write-offs carry unanimously. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:38 PM: We move into a motion on portraits of mayors; @MayorOfKingston declares a pecuniary conflict and excuses himself. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:39 PM: Clarification to Coun. Schell; staff says costs for a picture would be covered. If amayor wants a painting, that’s not included. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:40 PM: Staff, answering @DorothyAHector, says that the paintings in city hall are almost always gifts to the current mayor. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:40 PM: She added that sometimes the subject of the painting doesn’t even know it’s been done. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:41 PM: Report 6 from the EITP is up now. Bulk of the item is up now. Items 2 and 6 to follow. They carry 12-0. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:45 PM: We’re getting an amendment on the solid waste by-law… discussing how to place waste on a pile of snow. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:46 PM: Amendment carries 12-0. We’re short by one. @MayorOfKingston stepted out on the portrait item, and has yet to return. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:48 PM: Second amendment on clause 2 being presented by @JimNeill3; tying up some loose ends at staff’s suggestion. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:49 PM: Second amendment carries 13-0, as does the motion. @MayorOfKingston back in chair and takes chairing of the meeting back. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:50 PM: @MayorOfKingston comments that the CAO joked that it was presumptuous to assume he’d get a portrait. #caojokes #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:51 PM: Great lakes protection item carries; and we move to Report 7 from the Age-friendly committee. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:51 PM: @MayorOfKingston #mayorjokes with @JimNeill3 that he doesn’t have to declare a conflict on it. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:52 PM: Report 7 clears; and we have a long list of appointments from the nominations committee. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:53 PM: The nominations committee is putting forward its list of citizen names for the final year of the current council term. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:55 PM: Both items carry. You can learn more about the #ygk committees at http://t.co/KxPishy4Un. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:56 PM: No Q&A on the information reports; and we now get a new motion from Coun. Reitzel and Coun. Scott. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:58 PM: We open with a wording amendment to the item, which carries 13-0. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:01 PM: Coun. Hutchison asks about the scope of this plan and if it’s in-line with the past. Staff says this is asking for a review. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:01 PM: Coun. Hutchison says this is too narrowly focused as worded. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:03 PM: The review is relating to commercial services/locations in the Rideau Community Plan. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:05 PM: Staff confirm to @DorothyAHector’s questions; this would include zoning policies. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:07 PM: Question from Coun. Downes about $40k attached to this. CAO says that this would cover incremental cost to increase work scope. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:08 PM: Coun. Downes questions why this hasn’t gone through planning. He’s questioning what “consultation” took place. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:09 PM: @MayorOfKingstonturns the chair to comment; says he knows this has been an issue in the east end for a while. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:10 PM: He’s drawing comparisons to Williamsville; says all of council got behind the district councillor then and should now. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:11 PM: Coun. Scott says the east is lacking a large grocery store and a large pharmacy. No clothing, beer, liquor stores. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:14 PM: And the item carries 13-0. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:14 PM: And we’re now getting a notice of motion from @councillorberg, seconded by @MayorOfKingston. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:15 PM: The motion will be to express interest in being part of an @apathyisboring pilot project. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:16 PM: Minutes from November 19th have been confirmed. Into by-laws. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:17 PM: Adjourned. 10:17pm. Thanks for following along. Watch for the recap tomorrow on the site. Next meeting is Dec 17th! #ygkc ^TV

Thanks to reneilet for today’s original photo.

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