Since the end of 2012, question period has been removed from the Town of Golden Regular Open Council Meeting agendas. On March 5, town council voted to reinstate it.
“I think it’s a very useful process to have question period at the end of a council meeting,” said Coun. Keith Hern who recommended the reinstatement.
The purpose of the question period was to give the public an opportunity to ask councillors questions regarding policy.
According to Coun. Caleb Moss, it had started to take a turn towards badgering the staff.
“I think part of why it got removed is because it started to go sideways and became more of an opportunity to attack staff, and direct questions more towards staff,” said Moss.
Moss voted in favour of reinstating question period, but noted it should be made clear that it is for the public to interact with council, and staff should only be called on for clarifications.
Coun. Chris Hambruch also voted in favour of reinstatement, but said that people would often ask questions at the end of a meeting about an issue that had already been voted on earlier in the meeting.
“It’s a bit like closing the barn door after the horses are gone,” said Hambruch. Council agendas are made available online prior to the council meeting, and Hambruch suggested that if anyone has questions or comments they are welcome to email the councillors before the meeting.
“Feedback is welcome, but once you’ve already made a decision you can’t go back.”
Council agendas and email addresses are available at www.golden.ca.
Council unanimously voted to reinstate question period.
It will take a minimum of two council meetings to make the change, and question period should be back on the agenda by the third meeting.