Whitehorse council votes to continue releasing council packages on Fridays

The agenda and detailed information packages that go along with Whitehorse City Council meetings will continue to be available to the public on Friday afternoons.

The agenda and detailed information packages that go along with Whitehorse City Council meetings will continue to be available to the public on Friday afternoons.

At its Feb. 13 meeting, council approved a new procedures bylaw, but not before voting 6-1 to take out a contentious change that would have made packages available at 10 a.m. Monday morning instead of on Friday afternoons.

Council meetings normally start at 5:30 p.m. Monday evening.

The proposed change caused concern among residents who accused the city of trying to deny the public timely access to information.

It was proposed by Coun. Rob Fendrick who maintains that councillors needed more time with the information package before potentially being lobbied by community members.

As it stands councillors receive the information around the same time as it is made public.

Mayor Dan Curtis, who previously spoke out in favour of moving the release to Monday, said he resented the suggestion that city council was anything less than transparent.

But the public’s perception that something fishy was going on was enough to make him “more amenable” to keeping the status quo, he said before voting to keep things the way they are.

In 2013 the rules were changed so packages for Monday council meetings were available online Friday at 4 p.m. Prior to 2013 everything was made public right before the meeting started.

While questions surrounding the meetings’ information packages got the most public attention in the new procedures bylaw, that wasn’t the only change included in the update.

The changes include a new requirement that reports listing councillors’ attendance for the previous calendar year, travel expenses incurred by council members in the performance of their duties, and their voting record be completed every February.

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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