Town council approves new method of releasing financial information

 

Town hallBy Ron Giofu

 

Town council has revised its method of the way information gets out to the media and public on the municipality’s financial matters.

Councillor John Sutton’s motion that revises the method in which press releases are disseminated was passed 6-1 by council earlier this month with Deputy Mayor Ron Sutherland being the lone council member that voted against.

Sutton’s motion read: “That outside of normal council reports, any further information regarding the Town of  Amherstburg’s finances be disseminated in the form of a press release issued by  either the mayor’s or CAO’s office and that such press releases be provided to council at least 24 hours in advance of their release.”

The motion, said Sutton, is a proactive way to make sure “council is engaged from the get-go” and that all council members are up to speed on all situations pertaining to the finances before getting calls from the media and the public.

Sutherland opposed, noting that sometimes there isn’t a 24-hour window before information gets out and he wants to be able to answer constituents as quickly as possible.

“In principle, I can agree with (the motion),” said Sutherland. “My promise to the electorate was that I would return all phone calls and answer e-mails and I have done that. No one speaks for me, I speak for myself.”

Councillor Bob Pillon said that council should be aware of all press releases that are sent out.

“We need to be on board to get information at the same time,” said Pillon.

Councillor Diane Pouget believed it was important that councillors aren’t “muzzled” in any way and wanted the motion strictly to deal with press releases. Sutton emphasized he wanted to ensure council gets the information first and that the intent of the motion was not to “muzzle” anyone.

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