Inverness County adopts new policies

PORT HOOD: Inverness Municipal Council adopted three new policies – the Council Code of Conduct Policy, Council Meetings and Proceedings Policy, and a Travel Expense Policy – following the repeal of a by-law that governed those matters.

“We repealed the by-law and now we have policy, because policy is easier to deal with than a by-law,” said Warden Betty Ann MacQuarrie. “If you have to change a by-law, there’s quite a process but with policy we can do it in house.”

MacQuarrie said having council’s rules spelled out in policy is simply a little easier than having such rules in the form of a by-law.

There are a few revisions in the new policies relating to how council operates.

Arguably the biggest switch is the dates of council meetings. Council decided to have its regular meetings take place the first Thursday of every month, which means the next meeting will be October 4. Committee of the Whole meetings will take place the last Thursday of every month. That meeting will be September 27.

Also included in the new policy is the matter of cell phones. Originally, council was thinking of having their phones turned off during meetings, but the decision was made to allow the phones to be turned on but muted. This way, members of council can be contacted in case of emergencies but the ringers won’t be distracting.

Breaks of 15 minutes may be requested when meetings run longer than 90 minutes.

With that, all council members, staff, and the public are encouraged to maintain professional standards during meetings. Abusive language, actions, violence, etc. can result in people being asked to leave or, on the extreme end, the intervention of the RCMP.

“We’re getting organized,” MacQuarrie added.