Council sticks to secret appointments

Policy takes the public out of the public's business

At Halifax council's Tuesday meeting, councillor Linda Mosher brought forward a proposal to change existing policy, such that in the future all council appointments to boards and commissions are made in public.

Supporters of the status quo maintained that holding council discussion of applicants’ qualifications in public would be an invasion of those applicants’ privacy. Council Mary Wile, who is usually confused and left muttering to herself through council meetings, was uncharacteristically animated, and said that changing the policy would be a violation of the charter of rights and freedom. City solicitor Martin Ward appropriately shot down that notion, saying the appointments were covered by the municipal governance act, and council could make them in public if council wanted to. But Mosher’s motion was defeated on a vote of 12-9, regardless.

There will be no change in policy, and council will continue to make appointments to boards and commissions in secret.

I really must explain why this vote was wrong-headed, and argue again why these appointments should be made in public.

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