Secret ballots. No clerk in the room. No lawyer present.

These are all above board under the current procedural rules of Halifax regional council closed-to-the-public in-camera meetings.

Coun. Sue Uteck has brought forward a motion that, if approved tonight, will do away with secret ballot voting, and require HRM’s solicitor to be at all in-camera sessions.

“We’ve had in-cameras where, in my opinion, we have the potential to put the municipality at risk,” Uteck stated.

Mayor Peter Kelly confirmed council was asked to vote by secret ballot in a July 6 in-camera meeting, but said the clerk was present and the minutes recorded.

Neither Kelly nor councillors would disclose what the meeting was about, but then-CAO Dan English retired the next day.

Coun. Linda Mosher dismissed Uteck’s motion as political grandstanding.

“She had no problem having confidential ballots when she became deputy mayor,” said Mosher.

“Sue is making a non-issue into an issue, which is what she always does. It’s pathetic, actually.”

Behind closed doors
Halifax regional council has in-camera meetings when discussing issues of personnel, legal matters and public safety.