Apparent clerical error leads to council debate
Debate on Wednesday, concerned a correction to an apparent mistake in the minutes from a previous council meeting vote
A clerical error regarding a proposed north-south laneway along the eastern edge of the O-Train tracks snowballed into a feud between Ottawa city councillors.
The debate on Wednesday, concerned a correction to an apparent mistake in the minutes from a previous council meeting vote.
The city clerk had removed a reference to the laneway, known as the mews, a north-south laneway connecting dead-end streets along the O-Train line.
Mayor Jim Watson appeared to expect the motion to pass quickly, but some councillors objected, saying it was an attempt to re-write history.
Watson faced opposition just as he was about to announce the correction 'carried.'
"Mr Mayor, I'm a little puzzled by what's before us here, by what's being called a motion to correct," said councillor Rainer Bloess.
"I believe that the minutes that were approved actually reflect exactly what that motion said and what the intent of the motion was," he said.
"To try and rewrite the minutes now, in effect is changing what the will of council was and the intent of council. I hate to say it but I think it becomes a rewrite of history around this table. I don't think it's appropriate," said Bloess.
Some councillors complained they only found out about the error last night then, minutes before today's council meeting, they got a differing, independent legal opinion by e-mail.
Some councillors are growing frustrated with what they said are a series of last-minute surprises for them.
"These things keep happening at this council, where things show up days, hours, minutes before we have to make decisions," said Tim Tierney.
Mayor attacks those opposed
The mayor supported the move to fix the record, and attacked those opposed.
"I found it frustrating that our clerk comes to us and admits he made an error in the document and we're simply being asked to change the minutes to reflect what exactly happened at city council," he said.
"And it turns into a two hour procedural debate so, you know, those kind of debates I find frustrating because they're not the most productive and I take the clerk and the solicitor at his word," the Mayor said.
"I look forward to seeing what activity has gone on in the lobbyist registry in the last 24 hours," said the mayor.
Council will continue to debate if the minutes need to be corrected the next time they meet.