For Immediate Release
February 22nd, 2016
Council Votes Should be Recorded Votes: Mayor Crombie
Mississauga – Council votes should be recorded for the public to review and to hold elected officials accountable for their decisions, Mayor Bonnie Crombie said today.
“Recorded votes strengthen openness, transparency and accountability at City Hall,” Mayor Crombie added, following a meeting of the City’s Governance Committee.
Under the current practice, recorded votes are only taken when a request is made by either the mayor or councillor.
“I have been asked by residents many times where they can go to see how their mayor or councillor voted,” Mayor Crombie said. “Knowing how your elected officials voted on important public policy decisions, which could have lasting consequences, is fundamental to a well-functioning democracy.”
Mayor Crombie cited a staff report, debated during Monday’s Governance Committee meeting, which stated that the recording of all votes “may result in: greater accountability by the Mayor and individual Councillors for their decisions; the ability for the public to track the votes and voting patterns; and, an ability to track attendance of the Mayor and Councillors”.
In a review of 23 Ontario municipalities, the report found that Toronto, London and Guelph record votes for all matters. Across Canada, Mayor Crombie added that the City of North Vancouver records all votes. In February 2015, Saskatoon City Council also voted in favour of recorded voting.
Mayor Crombie said that the financial impact of installing an electronic voting system to facilitate the recording of Council votes “is an important use of taxpayers’ dollars, and well worth the investment.” According to the staff report, installation costs could range from $3,000 to $6,000.
“During election time it is important for residents to hold elected officials accountable about their actions over the past four years. Recorded votes help people make informed decisions before casting their own votes.”
The Governance Committee voted to direct staff to prepare a report on how to move ahead with a process for recording all votes.
Mayor Crombie concluded “This is an opportunity for the City of Mississauga to take further steps to better engage and inform residents about the city-building decisions and actions being made by Council and staff.”