EDITORIAL – Turning a City council meeting into a complete gong show
An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
A GONG SHOW. A circus. A comedy of errors.
Those are some of the ways to describe Tuesday’s Kamloops City council meeting. It was painful to watch, all four and a half hours of it, not counting the public hearing that followed.
The action revolved around a simple motion presented by Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson asking for a review and potential relocation of 48 Victoria St. West, the storage facility used by homeless folks.
Under public inquiries on the agenda, several citizens spoke on it, clearly demonstrating the division between those who put the interests of the homeless first, and those who live the nightmare of constant criminal activity that has come with the concentration of several housing facilities and services on the street.
Then, councillors got into the mayor’s motion and things went rapidly downhill. Some insisted the situation requires a major planning exercise on what to do with the entire street rather than just the one address.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, alternate TNRD director and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a recipient of the Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Are these meetings not controlled by Roberts Rules of Order and is there no one in charge of keeping order and protocol???
This is what happens when the voting populous vote in an inexperienced mayor. Part of their (his) job is to stay aware and lucid regarding the conversation in Council and keep the train on the track, always moving forward, always keeping the task at hand in mind.
An experienced meeting facilitator (one of the key Mayoral responsibilities) would have seen that the way forward was to deal with the presenting motion about 48 Victoria St W as the motion stood, then allow for the broader conversation after.
Where its true that a Mayor or Council member may need to recuse themselves very occasionally, this wasn’t one of those.
I remember when Peter Milobar would still chair the meeting but not be involved in discussions or vote on a new liquor store license, due to his family involvement in the industry. It was no big deal and he didn’t leave the room, he still had a job to do.
This Mayor has repeatedly shown that he sings to his own tune and prefers to just leave, instead of staying to do his job, and keeping the meeting from going south like this … but he doesn’t know how to.
Its going to be be a very long 4 years
That’s a good observation, eloquently explained.
It was only a week or two ago, Mr. Trawin shared that he received a threatening phone call in the middle of the night. Anger and tension cannot be ignored, even though the vast majority of people are not violent.
I think that belittling the Mayor in public will do nothing but invite a response that someone will regret.
It’s time a third party mediator is hired to diffuse this situation.
Not only is it a gong show, but folks like Katie should realize that shaming someone in public might be tolerated in some circles but not in public council chambers.
I remember the thoughts I had after witnessing the candidates debate held at the Grand Hall at TRU prior to the last municipal election. After it I mused there was going to quite easily be a much worse council than previous ones given the choices available. I don’t blame the new mayor at all. I find it preposterous that decisions are replaced by procrastination, unnecessary complications and ridiculous nitpicking. There are no excuses for that kind of behaviour from the eight councillors.