At a recent council meeting, one member, clearly irritated, wondered why issues were being "hashed out" in council chambers after the policy committee had already met and made a recommendation.
This musing should set off alarm bells for a number of reasons.
First, it is not enough that an issue be sent to a committee and then have that committee decide the matter without public transparency. Not only is the public excluded from policy committee meetings, and by extension the press, but also not every council member is in attendance. Yes, they have the ability to provide input prior to the meeting, but they are not included at the debate.
Taxpayers have the right to hear that debate, to know each council member's opinion and to be privy to any subsequent vote.
Another issue regarding development plans for the municipality apparently entailed "numerous meetings", again behind closed doors.
We recognize that while certain issues require confidentiality to protect the individual, those that impact the taxpayer financially or philosophically require transparency.
Council should let the public judge for themselves what's important, whether it involves significant tax dollars or not. All policies and bylaws affect residents, one way or another. Discussions on how they are arrived at need to be heard.
Transparency and accountability have become cliqued political fodder in recent times. Let's ensure these principles remain firmly planted in Crowsnest Pass.