The May 26th meeting of Grand Forks City Council didn’t appear to be straying off into anything controversial. There were a number of decisions to be made regarding a Road Closure and the choice of which way to go with repaving a local road. ICBC wants an intersection review and a local would like a proclamation of Bee Day for May 29th. (Unfortunately the city doesn’t do proclamations)
The Bylaws had to do with fees and charges and some changes to the how votes are cast and counted in elections. Things such as are there enough polling stations for some in the elderly community and should we have mail-in voting. And they’re moving towards a computerized vote counting system with the hopes that it will be quicker, more accurate and cost less than the purely manual labour methods currently in use.
The meeting had the appearance of maybe along smoothly until question period. It was here that the desires of council to reign in the repeated and repeating questioning of the people against the residential water metering program ran into the problem of the desires of the people to make council stop and listen to them and change what their plans are. In particular, council had decided and the mayor stated at the start of the question period, that questioners would be limited to two questions. When that did not work out the Mayor recessed the meeting for 5 minutes. You can watch and listen for yourself below.
The Mayor mentioned he considered the actions of the questioner as tantamount to harassment. What constitutes harassment?
A sampling of what the reference sites on the web have to say on this:
The Free Dictionary says: “the act of systematic and/or continued unwanted and annoying actions of one party or a group, including threats and demands”
Dictionary.com says: “the act or an instance of harassing, or disturbing, pestering, or troubling repeatedly”
And the federal government’s take on harassment in the workplace: “Essentially, the definition of harassment means that more than one act or event is needed in order to constitute harassment and that taken individually, this act or event need not constitute harassment. It is the repetition that generates the harassment. In other words, harassment consists of repeated and persistent behaviours towards an individual to torment, undermine, frustrate or provoke a reaction from that person. It is a behaviour that with persistence, pressures, frightens, intimidates or incapacitates another person. Each behaviour viewed individually may seem inoffensive; it is the synergy and repetitive characteristic of the behaviours that produce harmful effects.”
Like a lot of things that involve human interactions some will agree with the Mayor that this constitutes harassment and others will not. I cannot tell you what to think, only point you in the direction of information and facts and you make up your own minds on the matters.
One thing he did say that has my curiosity going is that answering all the questions on this single topic that have been (and are) regularly posed at every meeting for the past few months has a definite cost in time, effort and money associated with. Should those who are complaining about the cost of the residential water meter program also worry about the costs of answering their questions or not? Another question for you, the reader / resident to ponder …