Ball of change gets rolling

The new city council has been busy making changes before even conducting its first meeting

The new city council has been busy making changes before even conducting its first meeting.

Prior to council’s inaugural meeting last week, the mayor and councillors met informally and agreed on some minor alterations.

“Our first small changes include shorter, more focussed council meetings, with public hearings not attached to regular chamber sessions,” Mayor Walter Jakeway announced last week.

“This will allow your elected representatives more time to be out in the community.”

Meetings will also follow a once every two week schedule, start an hour earlier, at 6:30 p.m. and will not go any later than 8:30 p.m.

“This is about improving community discussion,” Jakeway said. “Shorter meetings, every two weeks, are already in place at several other larger Island cities and the results are better decisions, wiser outcomes and more available, less-fatigued councillors.”

Jakeway also appointed councillors to specific portfolios based on councillors’ input and interests. Andy Adams is assigned to finance; Ron Kerr to culture and heritage, First Nations, and tourism; Ryan Mennie to public safety (crime reduction), school board/city liaison, and youth; while Claire Moglove takes on the portfolio of economic development. Larry Samson is assigned to community planning, recreation/parks, and environment and Coun. Mary Storry is tasked with the public works/transportation, and the seniors portfolios. Portfolio appointments were expected to become official at Tuesday’s council meeting after the Mirror went to press.

“It is my goal to streamline the process in which council makes decisions,” said Jakeway in a report to council. “To this end I welcome feedback and look forward to working together with you as a team during the upcoming term.”

Jakeway wants to hold off on appointing councillors to the city’s various advisory committees until the new year when council plans to review its advisory committee structure.

Council considered a recommendation in January to form a committee that would review the structure, mandate and effectiveness of the committees, task forces and commissions. Council chose to deal with the recommendation after the November election. It was on Tuesday night’s agenda.

“If we are going to consider making changes to our committee structure, it would be appropriate to have them completed prior to March 31, 2012, which is the date in which existing committee members’ appointments expire.”