Councillor Pouget’s Information Request Stifled

Commentary by Linda Saxon

Councillor Pouget has always been, and continues to be, a conscientious, hard working representative of this community, but her latest effort to obtain information is stifled.

You might recall how Phipps will not provide me with certain policies until I provide a reasonable explanation for my request.

Councillor Pouget subsequently advised that she has requested financial information since April and it is still not forthcoming; she also requested the same policies I requested.

Phipps’ email to Councillor Pouget was cc’d to me:

“Thank you Councillor. I will raise this matter at the next scheduled or special meeting of Council. Given the number of requests we have for similar information from many in the community who wish to take on the role of a shadow-Council, administration would be and has been deluged with requests for information. All the time spent providing similar information to every request will take staff time away from the real work.

Therefore, I will be seeking from Council a resolution/policy on what information is to be provided to each request received. As well, Council will be asked to determine the daily work to be set aside if we are required to respond to each and every request.

Paula, will you please ensure this matter is placed on the next special meeting called by the Mayor or the November 17, 2014.”

Phipps’ emails are copied to council, new CAO miceli, ms. giofu (engineering) and a dawn morencie.

I let everyone know that I am still awaiting a response to me and I mentioned that if all the town policies were readily available on the town’s website, and of course in accessible format, no staff time would be required to respond to requests for such information.

I also asked by the way, isn’t it a waste of staff time to send these emails to staff who are not making decisions to respond to these requests?

Finally, I let our elected officials know that if they decide to hold a council meeting prior to November 17, according to section 240 of the municipal act, (b) upon receipt of a petition of the majority of the members of council, the clerk shall call a special meeting for the purpose and at the time mentioned in the petition. 2001, c. 25, s. 240.

I am anxious to see if those running for re-election on promises of accountability and transparency, aside from Councillor Pouget, will step up and support her, me, and everyone else who requests information that should be publicly available, without encountering resistance and uncivil servants.

If not, Councillor Pouget is the only current member of council getting my vote.

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