Hamilton public school trustees urged to record private sessions

News Nov 26, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

By Richard Leitner, News Staff

Incoming Hamilton public school trustees are being asked to tape most of their closed-door meetings to ensure there’s no dispute about what was said and show they’ve got nothing to hide.

Laura Peddle, who is stepping down as Ward 6 trustee, pushed for the change at the outgoing board’s final meeting on Nov. 17, arguing trustees should show leadership by taking advantage of the new Education Centre’s capability to record all meetings.

She said only meetings involving human-resources issues relating to individuals shouldn’t be taped.

“This board is becoming famous for being the first one to do things,” Peddle said, suggesting the recordings be kept for four years. “There would be an ability to review what had been heard behind closed doors.”

Trustees referred the issue to the board’s governance committee to study the legal implications, including whether recordings might be subject to freedom-of-information requests.

The Education Act only allows trustees to hold private sessions on issues related property matters, litigation, employee negotiations and intimate, personal or financial information of individuals.

“We want to be sure that we both protect the board as well as make sure that we’re as transparent as we possibly can be,” said Judith Bishop, who is retiring as trustee for wards 1 and 2.

“We need to look at this in a serious manner and take proper legal advice.”

Hamilton public school trustees urged to record private sessions

News Nov 26, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

By Richard Leitner, News Staff

Incoming Hamilton public school trustees are being asked to tape most of their closed-door meetings to ensure there’s no dispute about what was said and show they’ve got nothing to hide.

Laura Peddle, who is stepping down as Ward 6 trustee, pushed for the change at the outgoing board’s final meeting on Nov. 17, arguing trustees should show leadership by taking advantage of the new Education Centre’s capability to record all meetings.

She said only meetings involving human-resources issues relating to individuals shouldn’t be taped.

“This board is becoming famous for being the first one to do things,” Peddle said, suggesting the recordings be kept for four years. “There would be an ability to review what had been heard behind closed doors.”

Trustees referred the issue to the board’s governance committee to study the legal implications, including whether recordings might be subject to freedom-of-information requests.

The Education Act only allows trustees to hold private sessions on issues related property matters, litigation, employee negotiations and intimate, personal or financial information of individuals.

“We want to be sure that we both protect the board as well as make sure that we’re as transparent as we possibly can be,” said Judith Bishop, who is retiring as trustee for wards 1 and 2.

“We need to look at this in a serious manner and take proper legal advice.”

Hamilton public school trustees urged to record private sessions

News Nov 26, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

By Richard Leitner, News Staff

Incoming Hamilton public school trustees are being asked to tape most of their closed-door meetings to ensure there’s no dispute about what was said and show they’ve got nothing to hide.

Laura Peddle, who is stepping down as Ward 6 trustee, pushed for the change at the outgoing board’s final meeting on Nov. 17, arguing trustees should show leadership by taking advantage of the new Education Centre’s capability to record all meetings.

She said only meetings involving human-resources issues relating to individuals shouldn’t be taped.

“This board is becoming famous for being the first one to do things,” Peddle said, suggesting the recordings be kept for four years. “There would be an ability to review what had been heard behind closed doors.”

Trustees referred the issue to the board’s governance committee to study the legal implications, including whether recordings might be subject to freedom-of-information requests.

The Education Act only allows trustees to hold private sessions on issues related property matters, litigation, employee negotiations and intimate, personal or financial information of individuals.

“We want to be sure that we both protect the board as well as make sure that we’re as transparent as we possibly can be,” said Judith Bishop, who is retiring as trustee for wards 1 and 2.

“We need to look at this in a serious manner and take proper legal advice.”