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Municipality Responds to Allegation of “Illegal Meeting”

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WEST NIPISSING, ON – The Municipality of West Nipissing held a special meeting of Council at 6:30 p.m. on July 21st, 2016. There was one resolution on the agenda to award contracts for the supply and delivery of granular material for the refurbishment of specific gravel roads at various locations in the Municipality. The purpose of the special meeting was to provide maximum amount of time for the successful bidders to complete the work this season. Waiting for the next meeting in August would have created operational difficulties. The roads scheduled for repair that would have been delayed are Piquette and Macdonald roads in the Verner area, Suny Ridge, Cayouette and St-Joseph roads in the Field area as well as Maurice and Burnt Lake  roads in the Sturgeon Falls area.

A variety of issues were raised at this meeting  requiring clarifications. Given that one local reporter was present and was providing strong and biased opinion to a group of attendees after the meeting about the legality of the meeting prior to receiving any official explanation, the Municipality wants to ensure that its position on this matter is properly reported.

Procedural matters

A point of order was called by a Councillor stating the “meeting was illegal” citing that proper notice was not provided. The Councillor wrongfully stated that 48 hours’ notice must be given. Section 3.2.2 clearly states that…”. The special meeting shall be held not sooner than 24 hours following the Head’s summons…”. The Notice was provided in the early afternoon the day prior satisfying our procedural by-law. As per section 25 of our by-law, the Mayor ruled on the matter and it was not appealed since the member chose to leave the proceedings.

Our procedural by-law is silent on when the public notice is to be provided. Despite this fact, the meeting was posted on our website in the late morning of the same day. By the large attendance at this meeting, it would appear that those interested in the proceedings were duly informed in one form fashion.

Prior to the discussion, another Councillor also chose to leave the meeting prematurely stating that he too was not informed. This despite the fact that he confirmed his attendance in his response by email the previous day. The Councillor also made accusation of not receiving supporting materials. The agenda clearly stated the subject matter and the purpose as per section 3.2.1 of the procedural by-law. As well, the materials had in fact been shared the week prior. It was very clear by all what the issues were given the increased attendance. No other Councillors raised objections and all other Councillors remained to properly conduct the affairs of the Municipality.

The resolution awarding the tenders

The tender was for the supply and delivery of granular materials to refurbish roads in three areas. There were four bidders who bid on the tenders. Three bidders were known to the Municipality having completed past work satisfactory and having a clear presence in the community. One bidder had never been awarded contracts with the Municipality. The tender documents required references to be provided to ensure that the Municipality were engaging companies that will be able to satisfy the tender requirements. The references provided by one bidder stating that the company was an approved sub-contractor on a major project in Timmins proved to be false. The bid was therefore rejected.

A recorded vote was held. All members voted unanimously in favor of the resolution to award the tenders to the other bidders.

It is apparent that certain members of the community are receiving information which is biased and does not accurately reflect the position of the Mayor and Council. We want to ensure our residents that we continue to act in their best interests by upholding the integrity of the Municipality. We understand that this is difficult especially given the acrimony and aggressive stance by some attending Council meetings. However, we provide our assurance that we will persevere until this controversial and unpleasant issue is settled.