Yellowknife city councillor proposes webpage dedicated to bylaw inquiry

Yellowknife city councillor Adrian Bell says a website dedicated to its inquiry into the city's municipal enforcement division would be a good thing.

City investigating allegations of misconduct in its municipal services division

City Hall on Dec. 12, 2017. The city may implement a website to keep Yellowknifers informed about the inquiry into the city's municipal enforcement division. (Priscilla Hwang/CBC)

Yellowknifers may get a website to keep them informed on an inquiry into the city's municipal enforcement division.

The idea comes in the wake of a secret meeting last week to discuss an inquiry into allegations of misbehaviour against Doug Gillard, the city's bylaw manager, dating back to 2014.

In a bid to increase the transparency of the inquiry, Coun. Adrian Bell proposed the idea at Monday's Municipal Services Committee meeting. Bell also suggested council could adopt special meetings to discuss the inquiry and that council could look at how other jurisdictions have approached similar issues.

"My priority there is that we have notice of meetings," said Bell. "And that we stick to the agenda in those meetings."

Concerns about transparency were raised after the city's senior administrative officer, Sheila Bassi-Kellett, confirmed to CBC that a city lawyer had briefed some councillors on options for the scope and and process of the inquiry at a meeting on Jan. 31. 

No records of the meeting were kept and the public wasn't notified of it — both of which are required by the N.W.T. Cities, Towns and Villages Act for any meeting of council.

Council addresses proposal 

Not everyone agreed a website was necessary.

"I certainly agree with Bell's sentiments in terms of public transparency," said Coun. Julian Morse.
Yellowknife city councillor Adrian Bell said he thinks it would be useful for the public to find information on the inquiry gathered in one spot on the internet, and said he will put the proposal forward for a debate and vote at the Feb. 12 council meeting. (CBC)

"While I appreciate the intention of this proposal, I think we can achieve this within the structure that we've already got."

Coun. Niels Konge also spoke out against extra meetings, unless they were to make the process more efficient.

"I don't think any of us want to drag this out because it's not comfortable for anybody," he said. "It sells newspapers and gets people reading CBC, but that's not really our purpose."

Mayor Mark Heyck, Coun. Rebecca Alty and Coun. Steve Payne were not present for the discussion at Monday's committee meeting.

Bell said he would bring the website idea forward at the Feb. 12 council meeting.

Council considers security camera policy

A proposed policy on the use of city security cameras was also considered. Most of Yellowknife's public surveillance video cameras were turned off Jan.18 shortly after revelations of Gillard's alleged past misuse of them became public. 

The new policy would include an analysis of the need for each camera before they are turned back on, mandatory signage about placement, and rules that state footage be maintained by city staff and only shared with third parties in accordance to legislation.​

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