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Winnipeg city councillor continuing to seek better access to information

Last month a motion for improved access to senior administrators failed, but now Coun. Janice Lukes is taking a crack at getting reports earlier.

Winnipeg Coun. Janice Lukes

Metro file

Winnipeg Coun. Janice Lukes

After months of feeling out of the loop, certain Winnipeg city councillors are making an attempt to improve their access to information in city hall.

Coun. Janice Lukes said a motion she's introducing at Wednesday’s council meeting will ask that councillors and the public be given administrative reports at least four business days before they are discussed in committee meetings.

“That would give us more time to read the reports, and make better, more well-informed decisions,” Lukes said.

Currently, a procedural bylaw states agendas and reports should be available at least 96 hours before meetings, but that time period often includes evenings and weekends.

“We’re making decisions on multi-million dollar projects often with (two business days) to ask questions,” Lukes said. “How can you clarify questions (with administration), talk amongst your colleagues, and answer constituents' questions in two eight-hour days?”

But more than giving her and her colleagues little time, Lukes said it also prevents members of the public from having adequate opportunities to seek clarity from the public service, or register to appear as delegations at committees.

In the motion’s preamble, Lukes wrote it is “in the interest of well-informed government decisions, good policy creation, and public engagement in government.”

The exact motion asks that the procedural bylaw NO.50/2007 be amended to change the time for posting agendas for committees from a minimum of 96 hours to a minimum of four business days.

At last month’s council meeting, a motion Lukes introduced to improve councillor access to senior administrators during the 96 hour time period was defeated in a 6-10 vote.

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