Types of Council Meetings

Types of Council meetings

Introduction

The following information is supplied from the Government of British Columbia’s website and is intended to assist Penticton residents in understanding the various types of meetings which Council members attend for the purpose of conducting City business.

Council meetings are public gatherings where locally elected officials make decisions or move toward making decisions.  Transparency and fairness of meetings and the decision-making process of elected officials are central to the principles of accountable government. To uphold these principles, provincial rules and the Council Procedure Bylaw govern how meetings are administered.  Under certain circumstances, Council may close a meeting or part of a meeting by passing a resolution that sets out the basis for the closure.

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Meeting types

Below is a list of the four most common types of meetings that Penticton City Council members attend.

Regular Meetings– Council is required to hold regular meetings, all of which are open to the public.  A Notice of Regular Meetings is made available to the public by way of a posted schedule which provides advance notice of the meeting dates, times and locations.  This schedule is made accessible on an annual basis and can be obtained off the City’s website.  Regular meetings are typically held every two weeks and serve as the main forum for making decisions concerning City business.

Committee of the Whole – While the range of topics and issues discussed and decided on are similar to those encountered during a Regular Meeting, Committee of the Whole Meetings differ in being less formal. During this meeting, agenda items include staff sharing information with Council and public on new or ongoing policies and/or initiatives, presentations from community groups or individuals.  Unlike Regular meetings, Council are restricted from enacting bylaws but may provide direction to staff.  In Penticton, Committee of the Whole Meetings are scheduled on the same day as Regular Meetings, occur at the beginning of the Regular agenda and are open to the public.

Special Meetings – A special meeting is typically used to address urgent business or consider key matters facing Council. These meetings require public notice and can be called by the Mayor, the Mayor upon request of two or more members of Council or two or more members of Council under specified circumstances.  The Community Charter, Section 126, outlines the process of calling a special meeting.

Closed Meetings – Meetings of this type are closed to the public and are conducted in accordance with procedural requirements outlined in the Community Charter.  The rational for holding a closed meeting is determined by specific circumstances, for example, discussion of a legal, land or human resources matter.  In light of the public not having access to these meetings, the City takes steps to limit the number of closed meetings scheduled each year and when appropriate, releases Council decisions to the community as soon as the matter can be made public.  As shown in the following table, in recent years the number of closed meetings held has dropped in both frequency and duration.

 

Year

Number of Closed Meetings

2012

42

2013

29

2014

39

2015

33

2016

38

2017

20

2018

17