Procedure By-law Needs An Update

There are inconsistencies in the delegate application process and Amherstburg’s Procedure By-law, signed on January 21, 2015 needs an update.

The by-law governs ‘the proceedings of Council, the conduct of its members and the calling of meetings in the Town of Amherstburg.

k)  “Delegation” means a person intending to address the Council or committee on a matter where a decision of the Council may be required.

I applied to be a delegate at the March 13 council meeting as I was advised an Open Air report would be presented to council on that date; it is now an agenda item.

CAO Critchley emailed, As noted in the provided attachment, speaking notes have not yet been provided. In accordance with Section 5.4 of the Procedural By-law any materials intended to be presented to Council are required to be provided to the Clerk’s Office in order to review the submission. Once you have these materials together, we can provide further information on this request.

I replied that section 5.4 did not apply since I already knew it would be an agenda item.

CAO Critchley responded, Although your delegation is governed by section 5.2 of the Procedure By-law (and not section 5.4 – my apology for the error), as indicated on the application form to speak at a Council meeting, speaking notes and presentation materials must be provided as part of the application. As you have delegated before Council in the past, I believe you are familiar with this procedure. Please submit your materials before noon on Friday, March 10, 2023.

Before noon Friday, I let CAO Critchley and all members of council know about the inconsistencies. The online delegate application form states, “please upload speaking notes and/or presentation materials.”

The hard copy delegate application form differs in that it states, “**Speaking notes and presentation materials must accompany this request.”

Procedure by-law section 5.2 does not stipulate anything must be submitted, but states, any material submitted to the Clerk shall be circulated to Council as a “Delegation” submission – implying if anyone has any material.

I believe administrative forms should conform to the by-law and the by-law, 2014, should be updated to conform to accessibility legislation and other Acts pertaining to freedom of expression. People with disabilities may have difficulty meeting strict deadlines and requirements. I did inquire, ‘what accommodations does the town provide for persons with disabilities who are unable to attend council/committee meetings in person but wish to provide input?’ 

Other municipalities welcome residents to delegate via a variety of methods: in person, zoom, telephone and written submissions that are not placed under consent correspondence.

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