- Coun. Ted Prior wants Mayor Rob Kirkham to share more information and take councillors to private meetings with investors, etc.
- Council recently voted to have weekly reports from the Mayor, a step up from the bi-weekly reports Mayor was presenting to the council.
By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: July 7, 2013
The Mayor of Squamish could do a better job of sharing information with his fellow councillors and the community, says Coun. Ted Prior.
Coun. Prior says Mayor Rob Kirkham should include one or two councillors in private meetings with investors, business people etc.
The Mayor rarely takes any councillors with him to a business or investor meeting, Prior says.
“He could take Susan or Bryan or whoever is the acting Mayor with him so we know what is going on and we can work as a team.”
Last month, Prior introduced a motion asking for weekly reports from the Mayor, a step up from the bi-weekly reports the Mayor was submitting to the council.
With Coun. Doug Race and Coun. Ron Sander opposed, the motion was carried to have weekly reports from the Mayor.
Prior says the weekly reports are better than the slimly written, bi-weekly reports.
While the weekly reports are a step in the right direction, the Mayor owes it to the community to be more open and transparent by bringing along a councillor with him to a business meeting, Prior insists.
“I sometimes learn about things in the newspaper that I should have learned here.” Ted Prior.
Prior said Squamish could learn from other towns in the province.
The Mayor of Victoria, Prior said, never goes into a meeting without a councillor with him.
“I don’t think I have ever been invited to a meeting, but I’m available and I would like to participate,” he said.
Coun. Patricia Heintzman said the intent of Prior’s motion is altruistic.
“He (Prior) just wants to create a more conducive way of communicating amongst all,” she said.
Heintzman also said a lot of Mayors put their meetings on the website for the public to see.
“I think it’s all about transparency.” she said.
Not everyone on the council shared her view.
Coun. Doug Race said the Mayor is the point man of the community, and he could be dealing with sensitive issues in these meetings.
“Some of them could be extremely sensitive for political and business reasons,” he said.
Race voted against the motion, along with Coun. Ron Sander, who didn’t speak to the motion.
Mayor Kirkham said he was willing to submit weekly reports to the council, but refuted the suggestion that he was deliberately hiding something from the council.
“It sounds to me that there is a sense that there is backroom deals or negotiations, or moving business forward,” Kirkham said.
He said the business of the council is conducted in the council chamber, and no business can move forward without council approval.
Prior, meanwhile, said his intention in raising the issue is to ensure the council works as a team and no business opportunities are lost.