30 min. debate eats up Niagara Regional Council time

Niagara Regional Council fruitlessly debated a motion of censure last night.

Councillor Selina Volpatti originally brought forth the motion over highly criticized legal expenses attributed to councillors Brian Heit, Kelly Edgar, and Andy Petrowski.

"I want to say, that the total cost for these three councillors are forecast to be more than $95,000. For me, these costs are totally unacceptable. I think we can ask tough questions around this table without being sued...I'm sure that no council member really supports spending hard earned tax-payers money in this way because every dime we spend in this unproductive way is a dime we cannot spend on roads, or housing, or a nursing home bed, or our other strategic priorities."

A censure in this sense does not represent any remedial measures - Volpatti acknowledge the motion was purely meant as a reprimand.

Councillor Edgar, who stormed out of council chambers, tells CKTB he had no idea this motion was coming forward during the meeting.

"A motion to censure? For what? I didn't - no one saw that coming except for Councillor Volpatti and Councillor Quirk."

Councillor Dave Augustyn rose to speak to the motion. He proposed an amendment to remove Brian Heit and Kelly Edgar from the motion, singling out Andy Petrowski. Augustyn said Heit and Edgar incurred those legal expenses during the 'good, faithful, and duly diligent actions or omissions as councillors' while claiming Petrowski failed to follow protocol.

Eventually several councillors also spoke to the motion and amendment, passionately insisting that the issue was wasting time and a censure reprimand lacked any real teeth.

Councillor Augustyn withdrew the amendment and Councillor Volpatti removed the initial motion.