by Colin Smith
Morinville Town Council is looking at an overhaul of the procedural rules that govern its meetings.
The proposal to revamp the Procedures Bylaw developed out of a two-word amendment moved at Council’s regular meeting yesterday.
Councillor Stephen Dafoe’s motion would have added the words “or bylaw” to sections of the Procedures Bylaw that deal with bringing up failed motions again and rescinding or amending motions previously adopted.
“I think we have a loophole in there where bylaw is not specifically mentioned,” he said.
“I think it provides some overall clarity that the things we have in the Procedures Bylaw would apply to motions and apply to bylaws, and that we would have to follow the procedures surrounding it in terms of motions to reconsider or bringing it back as an emergent item, or something where changing it would impact it greatly.”
After Dafoe introduced his motion, Deputy Mayor Sarah Hall moved to refer it to a future meeting of Council.
Hall explained that she wanted to see the entire Procedures Bylaw brought forward for examination and possible changes along the lines set out by a parliamentary expert during a recent Council workshop.
Council passed the motion to refer unanimously. It also approved a further motion by Hall that the Administration bring forward the Procedures Bylaw at the February 16 Committee of the Whole meeting for discussion and consideration of the changes recommended by the parliamentary workshop Council recently participated in.
The issue arose at a November 13 Special Meeting where Council approved a mandatory face covering bylaw for Morinville. A similar previous bylaw had been defeated at its September 22 meeting.
Immediately following the passage of the face covering bylaw, Dafoe put forward a motion that would see Council revisit procedure on bylaws returning after being defeated.
The motion was ruled out of order by Mayor Barry Turner as not being within the scope of the special meeting. Dafoe challenged Turner’s ruling but it was upheld by a Council vote.
He subsequently filed a notice of motion for the measure he introduced at Tuesday’s Council session.
According to the current Procedures Bylaw, if a motion fails, the same motion shall not be renewed unless a general municipal election has been held a year has passed since the date that the motion was defeated.
The bylaw states that if a motion succeeds, a Councillor may introduce a motion calling on Council to rescind or amend a motion previously adopted if the Councillor sets out in writing what special or exceptional circumstances warrant further debate.
Also, in emergent situations, where previous notice to rescind or amend a motion previously adopted is not practical, a motion to rescind or amend a motion bylaw previously adopted requires a two-thirds vote of Councillors present at the Council meeting at which it is introduced.