In a conference call with local reporters today Mayor Andy Letham provided updates on a story covered by the Advocate on March 25.
When council sat last on March 19, a decision was made that they would not meet formally again until early May 2020. When that decision was made the rules regarding the legality and structuring of teleconferences were still unknown as they were being debated in a special session at Queen’s Park that same day.
In recognition that large groups of people may not be meeting for many more months, the provincial government made either open or closed council meetings via teleconferencing legal for the length of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Letham is hoping that once the technology is in place a “semi-regular council meeting” will occur at distance in mid-April. Letham said there were logistical hurdles to overcome, but he is hopeful that teleconferencing will start soon.
Emergency Powers By-law
Letham shared with reporters that the delegated authority given to Chief Administrative Officer Ron Taylor is “working well.” Letham said Taylor has already ordered medical masks and gowns for front line workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
The mayor stressed that this power sharing arrangement is necessary “when the situation arises” and could be used as a “bridge” from one time period to the next.
Letham also suggested that the delegated authority is useful to “to ensure continuity.” He reminded the reporters gathered that it was last utilized in July 2018 in the lead up to the municipal elections in Kawartha Lakes, and its use is not that uncommon.