How Guelph council uses closed door meetings to manage your business

By Gerry Barker

March 8, 2016

On Wednesday, March 9, 2016, city council will move into closed session to discuss the performance objectives of the Chief Administration Officer, Ann Pappert.

The agenda contains the following stated for the record only and allows no information being available to the public.

THAT the Council of the City of Guelph now hold a meeting that is closed to the public, pursuant to The Municipal Act, to consider:

C-2016.14 CAO Performance Objectives

Section 239 (2) (b) personal matters about identifiable individuals

There is no doubt the clerk’s office has stated the authority to close this meeting. But there is one phrase that changes the rationale for holding such a meeting behind closed doors. It is “personal matters.”

Now if this meeting is to discuss the performance objectives of the CAO, why is this a subject of which the public has no right to hear, let alone understand?

On the other hand, is this a clever subterfuge to claim there will be “personal matters” to be brought up and discussed covered by Section 239 (2) (b)?

It appears that there is more to be discussed, behind closed doors, than just the CAO’s performance objectives.

What possible personal matters are part of this closed meeting? We’ll never know, perhaps because there are no such qualifying aspects of the closed meeting.

Can it be that council doesn’t want to discuss the CAO performance objectives in open council? As the most senior public servant in the city, does council seriously believe that such an issue is private and not for dissemination to the general public?

Here’s another example of the way our city has been managed for the past nine years, in secret, and without recourse. Five years ago, the Farbridge administration appointed an Integrity Commissioner chiefly to police leaks of council’s actions that it deemed not to be exposed to the citizens.

Despite this overt threat of reprisal, there were still leaks.

Ann Pappert’s responsibility is to the citizens of Guelph. Her history on the job leaves many people concerned about her statements and judgment.

Another example is the firing of Bruce Poole, the former Chief Building Inspector for doing his job. He is suing the city for $1 million for wrongful dismissal. His statement of claim says he protested that 50 city-building projects did not have building permits, as demanded by law.

Of course there are personal issues and contract negotiations that should be discussed in closed session. In Guelph, closed meetings are the rule not the exception.

In this case, it appears that excessive political correction is guiding the council to the detriment of the citizens.

I see no signs of reform in city management and that’s what the majority of people voted for because they saw the flaws and mistakes of the previous administration.



1 Comment

Filed under Between the Lines

One response to “How Guelph council uses closed door meetings to manage your business

  1. Brent

    One wonders why hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars are being squandered to pay a Farbridge loyalist , Adam Best, to pursue a multi year study to develop a plan for”OPEN GOVERNMENT” when council continues to use this practice to keep us in the dark….then demands that we pay up with abusive tax increases and special levies when their secrete ill conceived plans go awry and cost us millions. Is there any wonder council comes up short when they need more money to cover their capital spending dreams and why it is so difficult to find who is specifically responsible for bonehead decisions that lead to costly outcomes. This current system is clearly rigged against us giving all the power to council and staff and only crumbs to the constituent serfs who have been relegated to little more than worker bees.

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