Councillor Kevin Lloyd found himself defending a letter he sent to the Ontario Energy Board after being questioned on it at the end of last night’s council meeting.
Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson challenged Councillor Lloyd on his letter submitted to the OEB criticizing the process by which the town arrived at the decision to sell the remainder of the Collus shares.
“What was the intent?” asked Saunderson. “If you wrote as a member of council … you effectively went behind council’s back.”
Lloyd reiterated his reasons as he told them to CollingwoodToday two weeks ago.
“I have absolutely no problem with the decision of council because it’s the will of council to sell,” said Lloyd. “I have a serious problem with how the decision took place. It’s my duty to voice my opinion on the process. There was no public input from start to finish. I believe there should have been.”
Mayor Sandra Cooper – as the chairperson of the meeting – thanked Lloyd and Saunderson for the discussion and suggested council move on.
Saunderson had one more point to raise.
“Having received education tonight from our integrity commissioners … they quite clearly state that our obligations around this table are to champion the decisions of this council,” said Saunderson. “I would suggest that writing a letter as a member of council to a regulatory body to try and frustrate a decision like that is clearly not in the best interest of either this council or this community.”
Principles Integrity co-principals Jeffrey Abrams and Janice Atwood Petkovski were at council for the May 28 meeting with a deputation and to answer questions. Saunderson raised a question about Collingwood council’s code of conduct and specifically the phrase that reads: members must “attempt to accurately and adequately communicate the attitudes and decisions of council … even if they disagree with a majority decision of council … so that there is respect for the decision-making processes.”
“When we come to this table and we make a decision for this community, do our obligations supercede our rights as residents?” asked Saunderson of the integrity commissioners.
“You voluntarily relinquish some of those rights when you take this oath of office,” said Atwood Petkovski. “Because of that, you relinquish, to some degree, the ability to step back and be the critic of some of those decisions, even though you may disagree … as a member of council when you are part of the democratic decision making process, you relinquish the ability to publicly attack council’s decision.”
For more on Councillor Lloyd’s letter to the OEB, read the CollingwoodToday story here.