October 23, 2014 – Committee Restructuring
Efficient, Effective and Accessible: Those were the goals that Council had in mind when making the decision to change our current committee structure. There have been comments made lately regarding that decision so I wanted to share our thoughts and reasoning. The current system is not efficient or effective, but instead of focusing on the past problems, we want to highlight the benefits of the restructure. We are implementing the changes to ensure that residents have easy and timely access to Council, and that all of Council has first-hand information on which to base their decisions. If any resident has an issue they want addressed by Council, they will have 3 opportunities every month to do so in a face-to-face setting. There will no longer be delays of over a month because a monthly meeting has been missed, and developers, consultants, etc. will make presentations to Council as a whole. Council is the only decision making body in the municipality and we need to have direct interaction with residents and other parties in order to make effective and timely decisions. This Council has always had an open-door policy. Residents have been welcome to attend our Council meetings and share public input. We also started video recording the formal meetings via Rogers to provide a venue for residents to watch the proceedings from the comfort of your homes, and then give us a call if you have any questions about what took place. Many of our residents simply pick up the phone and call the office with concerns or requests. Each of those calls generates a public works report to ensure they have been addressed. To date in 2014 we’ve responded to over 155 reports. We also respond to emails and meeting requests. As your Mayor, I am always willing to meet with residents to discuss any projects or topics. Our CAO is also available to discuss the details of projects or issues. We have provided easy access for residents to approach us in a one-on-one setting or speak to Council as a whole. This change provides additional opportunities for that interaction.
The timing of this decision is very straightforward – membership terms of current committee members ended in September 2014 and Council made the decision that instead of moving ahead with appointing new committee members this fall, we would try to make our operations more efficient. We have always been fortunate to have residents who are willing to provide their input on projects, and we did not anticipate that to change. We made provisions in the revised Procedural By-law for ad-hoc committees to be formed for major projects and we will put out a notice to all residents seeking participants when an ad-hoc committee is formed. Valuable input does not need to come at a structured committee meeting, but can be shared via phone, emails, and verbal discussions in a more timely manner.
The decision for the restructure was made by Council, in conjunction with senior staff. We needed to determine how we could become efficient and accessible. This decision has made it easier for residents to interact with Council and streamlined our process. It was an operational decision, one of thousands that are made that we do not take to the public. However, if you want to meet with me to discuss our reasoning further, please don’t hesitate to call me to set up a meeting. We have always valued community participation, and recently sent out an invitation to all residents seeking input in our Water Development Master Plan, and we will be hosting meetings in the near future for our Transportation Master Plan, and revisions to the Municipal and Zoning By-laws. We’ve held many public meetings in the past and will continue to offer that as one avenue for input from our community.
The change in structure will ensure that Council and senior staff are working together for the betterment of the entire community, while providing additional access for residents to bring forward concerns. It’s a positive and productive situation for everyone.
Mayor Judy Wilson-Shee
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