Some cities have committed recently to publishing their public data in an open format that citizens can directly access. Should Hamilton pledge to become an "open source city"? Why or why not?

Responses to the question: "Some cities have committed recently to publishing their public data in an open format that citizens can directly access. Should Hamilton pledge to become an "open source city"? Why or why not?"

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4 Candidate Responses (top)

Ward 09
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Clark, Brad Yes Adopt a policy of "Proactive Disclosure" on expenses. I will strongly advocate for a new policy where City Councillors and management proactively disclose all expenditures and expenses incurred through their offices: travel expenses, accommodations, mileage, meetings, meals etc. This policy will increase accountability and lower the City's expenses on freedom of information requests.

Adopt a policy of "Access by Design". I will encourage Council to move to the Access by Design paradigm, where City held information is proactively released to the public as opposed to the current policy of reacting to freedom of information requests. Exceptions should be limited and specific. While the City is responsible to protect the privacy of third parties, it is equally responsible to ensure that information flows in an open and transparent process that allows citizens to hold their government accountable. The Ontario Privacy Commissioner has developed policies to guide municipalities in this transition.
Fiorentino, Nancy Yes The City of Hamilton needs to be open, transparent, and accountable to its residents and taxpayers. Let's begin by revising the City of Hamilton's website by making it more user friendly and accessible to all. Public information such as meeting agendas and minutes, public consultation meetings for Planning matters or other matters, and so forth need to be easily accessible and readily available. The user needs to be able to access the information quickly and efficiently, and that is not the case presently.

Furthermore, a thorough review of the public notice policy needs to take place and revisions need to be made to enable active engagement from the public in all decisions made. Having public engagement enables the public to review the required documentation or reports and provide feedback. This is what an open and transparent process is about! Furthermore, all and any budget documentation should be publicly posted and made accessible.

Finally, committee and council meetings that go in-camera should be questioned each time they do so to ensure that they are abiding by the Municipal Act. It is imperative that councillors sitting on Council pose this question to the Clerk each time it is suggested that they go in-camera to ensure that it is being done according to legislation and to enable open and transparent governance.

If elected, I will not tolerate any in-camera sessions unless they are for the reasons stipulated in the Municipal Act and they are thoroughly warranted. I will not 'simply' go in-camera because the Clerk has advised. Having worked directly in muncipal government with the Municipal Act, I am able to use that knowledge to ensure that all meetings are publicly advertised, accessible and open to the public as much as possible.
McMullen, Geraldine Yes Anything that promotes transparency is worth considering; however, it must be handled properly and there should be some basic guidelines in order to prevent inconsistencies and any negative implications.
Mowatt, Andrew Yes Hamilton should have the public data available for citizens to access. Our city politicians make decisions regarding multi-millions of dollars of our money, our tax dollars. If we want real transparency the lets be an open source city. Every citizen is not going to agree with every decision but having an open format will give citizens a better understanding of how some of the decisions are made.

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