Secret Decisions

accountability

The May 9-15 edition of The Coast devotes several pages to the workings of Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) Council. An article, titled: The usual suspects – reports: “At a secret portion of their meeting last week, Halifax councillors appointed Fred Honsberger to the Board of Police Commissioners. There was nothing unusual about the secrecy, the reporter notes: All appointments to boards and commissions are made in secret, over the repeated objections of both The Coast and councillor Gloria McCluskey.” The main focus of the article by Tim Bousquet is for membership of committees and, in this case the Board of Police Commissioners, to reflect the racial diversity of communities which are served. Read the full article by Tim Bousquet.

Why the secrecy? Is it supported by legislation?

The Halifax Regional Municipality Charter under which this municipality operates clearly identifies that Council meetings and meetings of committees appointed by the Council are open to the public. The Charter identifies the matters that can be discussed in closed session. This list includes “personnel matters” but not Board/Committee Appointments. Is Council interpreting board and committee appointments to be matters of “personnel”?

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