Hamilton City Council meeting in December 2022 Credit: Joey Coleman

Hamilton City Council is embarrassing itself by holding unnecessary meetings during its traditional summer recess.

Council usually recesses meetings for three weeks in July and three weeks in August.

Yes, the time is used for vacations.

More importantly, it is used to catch up on administrative work, meetings with constituents, and prepare for fall council meetings.

This year, Council is interrupting the recess to hold one-off non-urgent meetings by video conference.

The result?


Take the July 5th Governance meeting.

“It is July the fifth today. I really resent the fact that I have to be here if there’s no point to this meeting,” declared Ward 8 Councillor John-Paul Danko from his cottage.

Danko was not wrong. His timing wasn’t right.

The time to speak up was when the City Clerk called the meeting.

Ward 8 Councillor John-Paul Danko during a July 5, 2023 Council meeting

For the next 45 minutes, Council debated the pointlessness of the meeting, then held a pointless debate trying to define the word “majority” without actually defining “majority.”

[This clip of the “majority” definition debate captures the absurdity.]

Today, Monday, July 17, Council was recalled from recess for a CityHousing Hamilton shareholder meeting.

The purpose? Rubber stamping the 2022 annual report of the municipal housing agency.

Council struggled to make quorum.

Only half the councillors were present for the 2:00 p.m. start time.

Three were in the Council Chamber, five were attending by video conference, and the other eight not present.

Hamilton City Council Roll Call for July 17, 2023 – CityHousing Shareholder meeting.

An ninth councillor showed up at 2:11 p.m.

The meeting began despite Ward 11 Councillor Mark Tadeson taking a phone call with his video conference microphone muted.

Council repeatedly lost quorum during the 45 minute meeting.

The summer recess benefits more than just the members of Council.

Their political staff and the employees of the City who support Council need the time to take their vacations without missing important decisions or having their inboxes overflowing upon return.

Well performing organizations have vacation periods.

It is time for Hamilton City Council to sort themselves out.

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Published: July 17, 2023
Last edited: July 17, 2023
Author: Joey Coleman
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2 replies on “COLEMAN: Council Needs to Respect Its Own Summer Recess”

  1. Whether there is there is a recess or not, if a meeting has been called it is the obligation of the Councillors to attend. The City does does not shut down for 6 weeks, nor does any other business. The City should not be operated to meet the whims of Councillor’s vacation schedules.
    Time for Councillors to get out of this part time mode.

    1. Kinda missing the point there, Doug. The city doesn’t shut down for 6 weeks. They just don’t have routine meetings. Joey said all of that in the article. The second, third, and fourth lines of this piece explain just that. For the most part, they’ll use those six weeks to, as Joey said, meet constituents, catch up on paperwork, and read through important reports. But, yeah, they’ll also take a week or so and go on vacation. People, politicians included, deserve time to see family, go to the beach, get some gardening done, and catch up on reading.

      A meeting is not the only indicator of productivity. There are things to be angry about; this is not one of them.

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