It’s early spring cleaning at city hall, with the city’s elected officials slating a handful of committees they see as redundant for dissolution.
The committee overhaul is in keeping with a goal Mayor Greg Dionne and others on council set forth during last year’s municipal election.
“We didn’t like the process, and as you can tell, council’s had input into the process, whereas in the past they didn’t,” Dionne said of the overhaul of committees that serve to help guide council.
During Monday’s executive committee, the first comprehensive report on city council-appointed committees was considered, with six tentatively slated for dissolution.
These include the community services advisory, street naming advisory, transit advisory, beautification subcommittee, municipal enterprise zone and Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club liaison committees.
But, as Coun. Martin Ring noted, there may be legal obligations to keeping the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club liaison committee, which administration will provide council with information on prior to making a final decision on during the Jan. 14 city council meeting.
The city clerk’s department has been going over a significant number of documents to make sure all of the legalities and obligations are followed, Dionne said, surprised that this obligation was missed.
But, he noted, this is why not all committees are included in the initial report. This, he explained, is to get the ball rolling on having the majority of appointments made by February. The remainder are hoped to begin functioning by March.
While looking at committees, city administration took various things into account.
“What was the attendance, how often do we have meetings, did people show up, what would it really take for a quorum?” city manager Robert Cotterill asked.
Some committees, such as the Housing Advisory Committee, had to cancel meetings due to there being too many members, at 21, to meet quorum.
We didn’t like the process, and as you can tell, council’s had input into the process, whereas in the past they didn’t. - Mayor Greg Dionne
The streamlined Housing Advisory Committee being proposed has a membership of seven.
“We went through who’s going to be building in the future, because that’s what’s important to us,” Dionne said.
But, Coun. Lee Atkinson noted, even those no longer on the committee can still attend meetings when items that concern them are brought up.
“I think the intent was that the agendas and the areas of discussion would still be available for them to see,” he said, adding that the new format will serve to solidify a core, functional group.
Appointments will be made more selectively than in the past.
A good example of this comes about with the Transit Advisory Committee, Coun. Charlene Miller said, in that many members were not transit system users.
“It made it difficult for them to grasp the transit situation that we have,” she said.
Whereas the mayor assigned people to committees in the past, Dionne said that in-council elections will begin taking place in the near future.
“We can go through and pick the skills that we need for that committee, because you don’t want people on the committee unless they can bring something to the table,” Dionne said.
With a number of committee applications coming in by young entrepreneurs, Dionne said that he looks forward to seeing some new blood in the city committee system.
“We’ve had some people on a committee for 20 years. That’s not good.”
Looking over the initial committee report, Coun. Mark Tweidt said that he’s pleased to see things progress toward streamlined, effective committees.
“This is one of the main things I heard, from the chamber (of commerce) all the way down. There are way too many boards, and they’re not functioning … We’re never going to make everyone happy … but this is a good start.”