We wonder why former Lytton mayor Chris O’Connor was granted a meeting with council between its June 4 regular meeting and the in camera meeting that night? He’s not a citizen of Lillooet and has no official status that we know of. Yet he was able to call up council that day and get an audience that night. Would all Lillooet residents receive the same treatment?
Council can meet informally with whomever it chooses; it just can’t make any decisions based on that informal meeting. The Mayor’s Mondays instituted by Mayor Dennis Bontron are an example of this - on the days of council meetings, the mayor is available at the District Office to meet with anyone who drops in to see him. Good idea.
But there are occasions when the District takes one step forward in its approach to communications only to take another step back. This is one of those occasions.
The mayor was candid at the June 4 meeting that there was going to be an “interlude” where a member of the audience – O’Connor – would meet with council. We’re not suggesting a conspiracy was afoot – why announce it if that’s that case?
Still, given the highly-charged political situation here, O’Connor and council should have known this would be questioned. Perception is everything in politics and, quite simply, this looks bad.
If Lillooet citizens wish to appear as a delegation before council at a meeting, they have to fill in a form, explain what their presentation is about, submit their form by a deadline and then make their case within a five-minute time frame. They may also be required to wait until the end of the meeting to make their presentation, but that requirement is not applied consistently.
Consistency is the key word here. If council is going to make accommodations to hear Chris O’Connor, it should do at least as much to engage Lillooet citizens and taxpayers. It could start by bringing back public question period and deciding on a format for presentations by delegations and sticking to that format.