Dave MacKenzie: Leduc should be seen as a leader in open government.

Easy Access to Council a key issue.

(AEN) - I believe that Leduc should be seen as a leader in open government. This means that we should undertake a number of initiatives to ensure that we are becoming more transparent in the way that business is conducted in our City.

My first recommendation is that we review our policy and procedures regarding in-camera meetings.  The principle we should always observe, and that is required by the Municipal Government  Act, is that council needs to conduct all their business in public except when they cannot due to contractual or specific privacy issues. In general, I believe council has done a reasonable job in this area most of the time, however, there have been times, in my opinion, that in-camera has been over used and has not been justified. I have vocalized this concern on numerous occasions. Over use of in-camera meetings can have a negative impact in terms of transparency to the public and can lead to a sense of distrust and lack of accountability. Also, the lack of public discourse can have a negative effect on the quality of decisions made

The second recommendation I would make is that all Council meetings should be made available on Closed Circuit Television. Citizens need easy Access to find out what is happening at council without having to commit all night to attend in Person. This access would enhance public engagement and council accountability.

Thirdly, I would like to recommend that, once per year, we should hold Council Meetings during the day at the High Schools to engage student in council Processes and In Civic Issues.

Over and above these recommendations, we should always be open to ways to more effectively engage and involve the public in all aspects of public policy and discourse taking place by Council members.

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