In-camera report sparks debate

Release of in-camera items at Monday's city council meeting started a debate during question period.

Things heated up during question period at Monday’s city council meeting when Cherryl MacLeod, a candidate in the recent by-election, challenged council and staff about a report releasing to the public items from previous in-camera meetings.

MacLeod stated, “Tracey’s November 2014 report contains 25 items, six pertaining to legal, four personnel issues and eight land property issues, that leaves eight items on the list that do not fit the in-camera criteria. All of these 25 items actually fall under section 90.1 of the community charter that says that they may be closed, 90.2 is the section that outlines what must be in-camera and I don’t believe that any of the 25 fit that ‘must’ criteria.”

MacLeod was refferring to Report 16-195, which was prepared by Castlegar’s director of corporate services Tracey Butler. It contains a list of resolutions from the March 7, 2016 to Nov. 7, 2016 special in-camera meetings that are now eligible to be released to the public.

MacLeod continued, “I am wondering what councillors Heaton-Shertobitoff, Rye, McIntosh and Vassilikakis would like to say about the fact that the senior staff and council’s practices during in-camera meetings did involve discussions not relating to property, personnel or legal as outlined in Tracey’s report — which is exactly what I said I believed was happening when I was asked at the all candidates meeting [during the by-election].

“I think that the four of you owe the citizens of Castlegar and myself a public apology for the misguided untrue information that was [in] your quotes in the Oct. 20, 2016 Castlegar News.” MacLeod was referring to an article in which the four councillors she mentioned called for an apology based on statements she made at the all candidates forum.

Castlegar CAO John Malcom responded by clarifying there are items other than land, legal and personnel that can be discussed under section 90 of the community charter at in-camera meetings.

Mayor Lawrence Chernoff said, “You need to understand, things that take place in-camera are done under the auspices of all the rules that are in place and they are followed very strictly by council and staff.”

MacLeod interjected that she respectfully disagreed, to which Chernoff replied, “You can disagree all you like, but that is your opinion. What we do at this table, what we do between staff and council is that we follow the rules and regulations that are in place today. You may not like those rules, you may not agree with them, but those are the rules that are in place today.”

MacLeod then stated, “I am saying that their comments in the Castlegar News were untrue, that’s my point.”

Councillor Heaton-Sherstibitoff defended her comments to the News, “They were not untrue, Cherryl, you accused us of wrongdoing when we had not done anything wrong and you had nothing to back up your facts.”

To read article in question go to http://www.castlegarnews.com/news/397645501.html