Recording of City finance meetings to resume; no additional costs expected

By Dominic Abassi
February 13, 2018 - 6:20pm

Finance Committee meetings will once again be recorded, starting with the Feb. 14 gathering.City of Nanaimo

NANAIMO — The cameras will once again be rolling when Nanaimo's Council meets to discuss the City's finances this week.

Following direction from Council, the City will resume recording and posting archive videos of their Finance and Audit Committee meetings, beginning with the Feb. 14 meeting.

The City stopped filming the meetings in September of last year after previously posting archived versions on their website for months. When asked about the issue in December, the City declined to say who made the decision to stop the filming or why no one, including councillors, was notified.

In December of last year, city manager Tracy Samra told NanaimoNewsNOW it would require an additional union employee to film the meetings. However, when asked last week if there would be additional costs related to the resumption of filming, chief financial officer Victor Mema said "We do not anticipate additional costs at this time."

The issue was raised to Council last month, when citizen Leslie Barclay voiced concerns over the timing of the weekday meetings. He also noted while the recommendations from the committee must come to Council for final approval, the items are typically not discussed in-depth and do not include detailed staff reports or presentations.

"I think it's problematic because many people work, so we can't attend 9 a.m. meetings. This Council spent a great amount of money to equip (the Service and Resource Centre boardroom) for meetings...Discussions are not made at meetings here, they're made there and we can't watch them," Barclay said.

At the Jan. 15 meeting when Barclay spoke, coun. Bill Bestwick, chair of the committee, told Barclay he did not know why the meetings weren't being recorded or when that practice stopped.

"I can't explain that to you...I didn't check to see when the last one was recorded or not. I don't feel it's my responsibility frankly."

When asked about the City stopping filming of the Finance meetings in December of last year, weeks before Barclay's delegation, Bestwick told NanaimoNewsNOW he was "Impartial as to whether or not every single meeting of every single Committee is recorded or not. Practically speaking, I am not sure if it is necessary or warranted."

It was Bestwick who brought forward the motion last week calling for filming to resume. "Citizens continue to ask for more access...fine with me," he said.

Meanwhile, coun. Gord Fuller said he plans to bring forward a motion in the future calling for all committee meetings to be filmed.

 

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On Twitter: @domabassi

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