Essex Council Aiming At Being More Transparent

Essex Council is changing the way it handles new business items during its meetings.

Councillors will no longer be able to add new items to the agenda unless it's deemed urgent.

It's all in an effort to improve transparency and communication with it's residents.

Deputy Mayor, Richard Meloche, says in the past, important items were being added last minute without notifying the public.

He says some residents were being left in the dark.

"What is administration is telling us, we do not want to add in items on a regular basis under new business that have not been advertised to be on the agenda because you may have a particular item that several residents would been interested in attending to give their point of view or to listen to the council debate."

Meloche says the changes will make meetings more efficient as well.

"Every councillor seems to think that their issues need to be dealt with that evening and then all of a sudden we go into a debate about whether it should be allowed or shouldn't be allowed. What I'm suggesting is that we clear it with the mayor before that night and then you'd know going into the meeting whether your topic is going to be talked about or not."

Meloche is also suggesting councillors be given a few minutes at the end of each meeting to speak on any last minute issues, but those items would not be debatable.

Town administration is now drafting a new set of rules that will come back to council for final approval.