Electronic Council attendance an issue

Cache Creek Council debates electronic attendance at meetings.

Council agreed to discuss changes to the bylaw to define when electronic attendance would be allowed at an Apr. 12 workshop.

Cache Creek Council will have another look at the amendments it made it its Procedure Bylaw last August, with respect to electronic attendance.Coun. Ida Makaro, who voted against the amendment, brought the issue back to the table and  voiced her opposition again to electronic attendance.”I’m not in favour of attending meetings through electronic means unless it is absolutely, absolutely necesssary,” she said.She wanted to see the bylaw specify reasons for electronic attendance.”I think it’s wrong to do it all the time,” she said, “but situations do come up where it’s not possible to be at a meeting.”Since the amendment was adopted last August, Coun. Jim Loucks has attended at least six out of 10 public Council meetings via Skype (web camera) and four in person; Coun. Wyatt McMurray has attended at least twice by telephone and three in person.”The question is,” said Mayor John Ranta, “do we want to hear from members who are not able to be here?”Coun. Wyatt McMurray responded as an “electronic council member attendee sometimes.”He disagreed with the stipulation of attending only if an emergency prevented him from being there in person.”At the same time,” he added, “the way [the amendment is] written today, we can sit at home because we’re too damn lazy to attend the office.”Makaro said while she was at a recent Local Government conference in Richmond, she looked for information on other councils who allowed electronic attendance, but she couldn’t find one.”I think if you’re elected to council you have an obligation to attend meetings,” she said.”We created this option to hear from Council members who are not able to attend meetings,” said Ranta.Makaro asked for Coun. Jim Louck’s opinion. He was attending the meeting via Skype.”I never wrote the bylaw,” he said. “I’m just abiding by it.’He agreed with Ranta that electronic attendance was better than no attendance.Council agreed to discuss changes to the bylaw to define when electronic attendance would be allowed at an Apr. 12 workshop.