Procedures at meetings with confidential items
Included in most council meeting agendas are confidential items
that the council, for various reasons, wants to discuss without the presence of the general public and, sometimes, even without the presence of municipal officials. These items are regarded as confidential because they deal with sensitive issues, such as legal or arbitration proceedings or property negotiations to which the council is or may become a party. Appointments, remuneration, misconduct or dismissal of any employees are also matters that can be considered confidential as well as matters that may be prejudicial to the interests of the municipality. In fact, the council may decide that any item that is not in the public interest should be dealt with as a confidential item.
Confidential items are also referred to as "pink items" or "pink paper items" because they are printed on pink paper. This forewarns the council that those items are to be regarded as confidential.
At meetings, the council normally deals with all the items that are open to the public and the press first and then resolves itself to go "in-committee". That means the public and press are excluded from the meeting and should therefore withdraw from the meeting venue. Any resolutions that the council adopts "in-committee" have full force and effect as a resolution of the council.