Vote Dick Carpani for Mayor
  Sarnia Ontario Canada

City council broke its own rules of procedure

Sir:This letter is to report on the strange actions of council and the mayor at Monday’s (March 21, 2005) Sarnia City Council Meeting. The action was on Agenda Item 3 in the correspondence section of the meeting. The motion was to approve a leasing agreement. When the vote was called the motion failed and Mayor Bradley declared it failed. The mayor became upset that it had failed and he and other councillors continued discussion on the already passed motion. After discussion the mayor declared a second vote. This time the motion passed.

Why do I report this as unusual? These actions broke the normal rules of meetings, and in particular broke council’s own rules of procedure:

  1. There should be no discussion when there is no motion on the floor – especially not of a motion that has already passed.
  2. To change a passed motion, the rules require a “motion of reconsideration” that has to pass by a two-thirds majority.

The council flip-flopped on the issue.

It will be interesting to see how this part of the meeting is reported in the minutes. They will have to show that the same motion both passed and failed at the same meeting.

What should have happened? Some councillor, especially one who voted against the motion, should have made a “point of order” to help the mayor understand that he was making a procedural error. Then there could have been a motion of reconsideration that, if passed, would have allowed the meeting to proceed to discuss and reverse the previous motion.

Why does it matter? The mayor has again shown that he is able to bully the council into getting his way, in this case even after a decision had been made.

Do you think that the mayor just made a slip? The mayor has many years of experience (some would say too many). So, you would think Mayor Bradley was a rookie who did not know the rules, or more likely, as he did not like the outcome and knew he had an inexperienced council. He knew he could get away with having his own way. Bradley has bullied councils many times before, but usually his methods are only suspicious, not prohibited.


Dick Carpani

(Letter to the Editor The Observer 2005 03 24)


Date This Page Was Last Up-Dated:  October 08, 2006