At the Oct. 21 council meeting, council members were asked to approve major changes to how our (your) city council conducts its business on our behalf.
They proposed cutting council meetings nearly in half by meeting only every second Monday vs currently meeting three times a month, and starting the meeting at 1:00 so they can end earlier but which makes it harder for citizens to attend rather than keeping the current start time of 3:00.
They also proposed a major change to eliminate the governance, priorities and finance committee, which is attended by ALL councillors, questions are asked by all councilors and items are voted on by all councillors and are open to the public. This would be replaced by two standing committees, each consisting of only three councillors each and the mayor as required. A decision to send something on to council could pass by simple majority with only two of the three councilors voting for it, only two of the seven members you voted for. I spoke to council voicing my opposition to forming these two standing committees as follows:
“To members of council. On one of the most important days of the year when we have the opportunity to vote for who will represent us in today's federal election I find it sadly ironic that there is a motion being considered to create two standing committees that would severely limit our elected councillors the opportunity to represent us.
The motion to form two standing committees goes against what the residents of St. Albert voted for. We voted that all councillors would be there to represent us. We voted for a mix of ideas and experience with three councillors and Mayor with previous experience and three new councillors to bring new ideas. We didn’t vote for only three councillors to represent us on these two proposed standing committees. We voted for all councillors and Mayor to fully represent us, to have all your collective wisdom and all your experience and all your new ideas, including all your different views, to represent us on all issues affecting all residents and voters.
To limit the representatives to three councillors on each of the two proposed standing committees not only limits your input but limits the ability of council to represent the residents that voted for you.
If you are going to limit your ability to represent the residents that voted for you by creating these two half-council standing committees and cut in half the number of council meetings that you attend, then it seems appropriate that maybe there should be a corresponding reduction in your remuneration paid for by the tax dollars.
I am not against change ... but I am for full representation by all of council, all seven that we elected, all seven that we placed our trust in and all seven that we gave the privilege to represent us.“
Unfortunately the motion passed to create these two standing committees (4-3, thankfully with councillors Joly, Hughes and MacKay voting to kill the proposal) and regrettably we (you) now have less representation on critical council debates and decisions. If you share my concerns I encourage you to contact the Mayor or your councillors.
Mike Killick, St. Albert