Town Council is accountable and transparent

Oakville Council receives second annual Closed Meeting Statistics Report

Town Council is accountable and transparent
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Gisele Shaw

Gisele Shaw

Gisele Shaw is the Manager of Corporate Communication for the town of Oakville since 2002. Prior to working for the town she worked for Halton Region as a communications specialist. She is a graduate of Humber College.

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Oakville Town Council received its second annual Closed Meeting Statistics Report from the Clerk’s department at Monday’s Council meeting and found that the amount of time spent in closed sessions was reduced by half from the previous year. The report showed that Town Council spent three per cent of its time in closed sessions. The Clerk’s report also notes that Council’s reasons for holding closed sessions met all of the requirements under the Municipal Act, 2001 (the Act).

“A hallmark of this Council is being publicly accountable to Oakville residents,” Mayor Rob Burton said. “This past year we were successful in minimizing closed meetings and maximizing transparency. By openly providing our residents with the facts that guide our decisions at Council, we ensure that Oakville residents are well informed and able to collaborate with Council on the issues that matter most to them.”

All meetings of Council, committees and local boards must be open to the public unless they meet a narrow list of exceptions set out in the Act. Exceptions include litigation or potential litigation, advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land, and labour relations or employee negotiations. Only seven items were not reported out to the public in 2013 as they dealt with the above matters.

Prior to proceeding into a closed meeting session, Council must pass a resolution authorizing a closed session and identifying the general nature of the matter to be considered. After the session is complete, a public report is provided or a resolution is passed regarding the confidential matter.

For 2013, Council was able to approve resolutions without the need for further clarification or discussion in closed sessions. Public reports were issued with confidential appendices where possible in an effort to increase transparency. This provided the public with a general overview of the matter under consideration while still protecting the interests of the municipality and taxpayers.

Closed meeting statistics are provided to Council on an annual basis to ensure continued attention to transparency and accountability at the town.

Council and committee meeting dates, agendas and staff reports are available on the town’s website. Live and recorded coverage of Town Council, Planning Council and Budget committee meetings are also available.

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