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Councillor wants more openness

Coun. Larry Samson wants more transparency when it comes to decisions made by city council out of the public eye.

Samson, at the June 24 council meeting, asked city staff to investigate the possibility of releasing the minutes from in-camera meetings, which are closed to the public and the media.

His motion was prompted by a recent discussion with B.C. Ombudsperson Kim Carter who was in Campbell River June 4.

“We heard from the ombudsperson when she was up that she said too often stuff that’s done in-camera stays in-camera and that there’s no need for it to not be released to the public,” Samson said. “So the intent here is to ask staff about the different options.

“The options may include what contents are to be released, is there a time frame, how often, are there any retroactive, do we go back in time or do we start fresh,” Samson said. The city of Nanaimo starting posting in-camera minutes last December on its website. The minutes go back to 2010 and cover items from the meetings that are deemed no longer sensitive.

In-camera meetings are generally held to discuss confidential matters such as personnel wages, firings and hirings, as well as land acquisitions and dispositions, confidential information relating to negotiations between the city and the provincial or federal government, and other sensitive issues.

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