By Robert Washburn
A push by Councillor Miriam Mutton to get more details in the official records of Cobourg council continues to strain relations between members Monday night.
Mutton challenged Mayor Gil Brocanier during a routine matter of approving the previous week’s minutes demanding an exchange between her and Deputy Mayor Stan Frost is included.
However, the town does not record detailed comments in the minutes. Notes are taken on the various motions and votes are recorded. This is a universal system used by most levels of government called Hansard, said Municipal Clerk Lorraine Brace.
“The Hansard minutes used by most developed democracies to provide a detailed and impartial record of parliamentary proceedings. They provide a verbatim transcript of the decisions that were taken, the policies adopted, and the passage of legislation,” she said.
Brocanier confirmed council’s policy not to record discussions. And, he said the exchange is not a big deal.
“There is no doubt it is a bit of a diversion at the time. I do not think it is interfering with out ability to do business at any particular meeting,” he said.
But, while the wrangling may appear to be unimportant, it does have an impact on the dealings between councillors.
“I think it might be having an effect on relationships. And, I am always talking about the importance of developing relationships. I think we have to come to an understanding what it is exactly we are putting in to question. And who we are questioning,” he said.
It is not the first time Mutton has raised questions about information being included in reports and minutes. Recently during a council meeting, she called on staff to include public input from a meeting held on town’s budget. She was successful in getting in included in the final report.
Council could change its policies and include discussion, even though it is not done in other municipalities.
Brocanier said it is not something he wishes to see done.
“Absolutely not,” he said.