I think the decision to record and make available Windsor City Council proceedings on video is generally a good thing (and as if to emphasis this point today’s LiveStream isn’t working for reasons unknown). I’m a little disappointed that transcripts for said videos aren’t being made publicly available. It appears that the software used by the city has the capability to generate transcripts but it looks like it is an additional feature.
If the City of Windsor paid for this feature, the City would also be able to record every vote – without having every vote to be recorded.
Let me explain the above.
If you read the minutes of past Windsor City Council meetings, you will see that it will note whether a certain measure was carried or failed to carry but it will not state who voted for or against said motion.
But if a Council Member requests it, all votes will be recorded in the minutes:
So why is every vote recorded at the City of Windsor? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure but it appears the decision to record votes might be for strategic reasons.
As you can read from the above, a recorded vote requires every member of City Council to vote (unless constrained by a conflict of interest) – including the mayor. From what I can tell, it is the mayor’s current practice to not vote on matters unless required by a tie among council members or by a request for a recorded vote. I’m not entirely sure how consistent our mayor is in this practice because – irony – I have no voting record for the mayor to look up. This is unlike Toronto, where the votes of all councilors and the mayor are readily available for download.
The past votes of Windsor City Council that have been recorded have not been extracted and made readily available unlike Windsor City Council Meeting Attendance. And the reason why meeting attendance is recorded suggests to me what needs to occur if we would like to have all votes recorded at City Council:
Windsor City Council adopted the following resolution at its meeting held March 8, 2010:
M83-2010 That City Council ESTABLISH, through Council Services, an attendance tracking system for City Councillors, posted on the City website, recording month-to-month attendances and absences, starting on March 8, 2010, for Council meetings, In-Camera meetings, Budget Meetings, Advisory Committees, Agencies and Board meetings, with a notice protocol for Councillors to indicate the reason for absences, including conflicts with any other City-related meetings or obligations. Absences at special meetings and budget meetings when seven days notice is not provided will also be exempt. A link to minutes of full Council meetings, starting in March 2010, will also be provided on the website, indicating absences from Council votes.Meeting Attendance