Council meetings to continue during nominations

2017 Municipal Election set for Oct. 16

City council will continue to hold regular bi-monthly meetings during the nomination period for the October municipal election.

Some jurisdictions do not hold meetings during this period except for when emerging or time-sensitive issues arise.

Calgary, Edmonton, Medicine Hat and Strathcona County do not hold council meetings according to a recent survey of Alberta municipalities. Others municipalities were still deciding.

City administration said eliminating meetings reduces pressure during an election campaign for some. Others say meetings could be used as platforms for re-election.

After the last election Red Deer city council decided the issue would be brought forward for discussion prior to the 2017 election and on Monday council unanimously rejected the idea.

If it had passed, meetings on Sept. 18 and Oct. 2 would have been cancelled.

Several councillors said they were elected to serve a full term.

“It is important for me to be accountable to the constituents,” Coun. Dianne Wyntjes said.

Coun. Lawrence Lee said council meetings were the only public interface councillors have with Red Deerians.

“There is no replacement for us. We are it. We can’t pass our duties on for others to fulfill for us. It’s part of our council role,” Lee said.

Coun. Tanya Handley said she recalled how angry she was prior to the last election when she heard council was possibly dialing back on duties.

“To me our term isn’t up. Council has been elected and sworn in. I say let’s carry on with what we’ve been elected to do,” Handley said.

Coun. Lynne Mulder said she did not see meetings as a conflict of any sort.

Councillors will formally declare on Sept. 18 if they are running in the election. Election day is on Oct. 16.

szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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