North Saanich councillor Ted Daly wants to discuss the mayor’s report in the district’s regular newsletters which are sent to residents with their municipal bills. More specifically, he wants to talk about the views mayor Alice Finall puts forward in those reports.
Plus, he wants the council to debate the overall cost of putting out the newsletters in the first place.
Daly raised the matter in a notice of motion at council’s Nov. 19 regular meeting. It will be debated at the next meeting, but other councillors and even two members of the public responded right away, defending both the newsletter and the mayor’s report.
“I’ve been following municipal hall for a long time,” said Colin Ross at the public podium. “The issue has been the need to improve access to council. That was backed up by an informative newsletter.
“We will not be amused if any of our access to our municipal government is removed.”
Another public speaker suggested Daly’s move might be seen as an attempt to muzzle Finall’s comments.
Daly said he agrees that the mayor should have a commentary in any newsletter the district puts out — but that the mayor should be reporting the council’s direction, not the mayor’s own views.
“The mayor’s report is the mayor’s report,” countered councillor Elsie McMurphy. “It’s not up to council to muzzle or re-write (it). If the people of North Saanich don’t like the mayor’s report, then they’ll have to get another mayor.”
Coun. Dunstan Browne added they have had this discussion before, noting the newsletter should be representative of all of council.
Coun. Celia Stock said she’s fine with the mayor’s report in the newsletter. She noted that other such publications featuring mayors like Sidney’s Larry Cross or Saanich’s Frank Leonard, are full of those mayors’ views.
“Our mayor should have that same right,” Stock said.
Daly’s notice of motion was approved in a 4-3 vote of council and will reappear for debate at the next regular meeting (Monday, Dec. 3).