by Tristan Turner
Morinville News Correspondent
Just as this Council’s term is winding down, Councillor Stephen Dafoe has put forth two motions aimed squarely at Morinville’s Next Council, due to take office in roughly eight months.
One of the motions was related to Council and, as Dafoe phrases it, “media relations.” The motion was to bring back information prior to summer break that will be included in the next and future Council’s orientation package on their encounters with the media.
The information to be included is as follows:
A/ Elected officials’ need to respond to media to help fulfill their role in holding elected officials accountable.
B/ The time limits and process for filing a complaint with the Alberta Press Council, Canadian Association of Journalists, Canadian Radio and Television Commission, and other media associations.
C/ The time limits for filing a defamation suit against media.
Councillor Gord Putnam noted his support for the motion, commenting, “This balances the field more, as far as I’m concerned.”
Dafoe’s motion passed unanimously with little discussion or debate.
[SUBHEAD] Dafoe motions for Council to discuss stopping Mayoral Elections, reducing council size
The second motion was to have the next Council discuss three options no later than halfway through their term. The three items were a proposal to limit council from seven members to five, and possibly stopping the practice of residents electing their Mayor, instead having Council select the Mayor from within their ranks. Another was to review all boards and committees of Council.
None of the individual items in this motion are binding in any way. The motion was to bring these items forward for discussion by the next Council halfway through their term. As is their prerogative, the Council of the day could decide to support, oppose, or remove these items from their agenda.
The motion passed 6-1, with only Councillor Brennan FitzGerald opposing. Speaking to motion, Fitzgerald felt that “this Council shouldn’t be dictating the priorities of the next Council.” FitzGerald felt the council of the day, after an election process, will bring forward the issues that are a priority to them and the community.
Councillor Dafoe spoke in favour of the motion saying, “The intent of this motion is to ensure that the Council of the day “best serves the needs of the community by reflecting on its size, scope of commitments, and commitment of its collective leadership.”
Dafoe also noted that he would have been comfortable bringing forward a motion that evening on reducing the size of Council, but said that there were limitations in the Municipal Government Act (MGA) that prevented substantial changes to the voting process so close to the next election.
In support, Councillor Barry Turner said, “Sometimes these important discussions pop up too late, and I think this a great opportunity to have a reflection point to touch base regarding these items [in council’s next term].”
Following the passage of this motion, Morinville’s next Council will have these agenda items on their agenda less than three years from now, though they could decide to bring the discussion forward or strike the matter from the discussion entirely at some point following their election this October.