Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Council members gain their assignments as Mayor outlines Committee, Board appointments

Mayor Herb Pond outlined some of the Board and Committee appointments
as part of Monday's Council session 

The start of a new term of office for an elected council means that the early meetings make for much of the organizational themes related to civic governance, among them, the distribution of which Council members gets assigned what task.

Mayor Herb Pond started that appointment process forward last week in a Special Council session required to appoint members to the Regional District and Hospital Boards.

This week, saw a wider roll out of appointments with Mr. Pond delegating some of the work ahead for the council membership.

Some of the appointments announced included:

Airport Authority -- Councillor Niesh
Library Board -- Councillor Forster
Performing Arts Centre -- Councillor Adey
Healthy Communities Committee -- Councillor Adey
Tourism Prince Rupert Board-- Councillor Randhawa
NDIT NW regional Advisory Committee -- Councillor Randhawa
BC Ferries Central Advisory Committee -- Councillor Cunningham

Mayor Pond also announced a decision to eliminate the appointment to Civic Awards and Recognition group suggesting all of council could perform that function.

"I am striking from the recommendation the Civic Awards and Recognition working group and suggesting that when that need arises all of Council can perform that  function together. I do not believe it has been a very active function"

He also had floated the idea of plans to discontinue appointments to  the Recreation Committee and repeal the required bylaw, noting of how it has not been fulfilling a function and that staff could make use of the Advisory committee that is in place.

"That council discontinue appointments to the Recreation Commission and rescind the City of Prince Rupert Recreation Commission Bylaw ... again in talking to two of the councillors who have been directly involved and  asking just broadly and generally has that committee filled a function ... it has not been fulfilling a function. 

It is my recommendation quite apart from what I am speaking to today that staff under recreation department have a users advisory committee and they can meet that need I think in a more practical way"  

There was some push back however towards that recommendation.

 First from Councillor Cunningham  who spoke to the plans to eliminate the Recreation Committee noting of how he found it to be a successful venture in years past, noting that there may be a need to revamp it a little bit, observing as to how COVID may have impacted on that engagement. 

"I don't think we should repeal that bylaw until we know what we're going to do with an Advisory Committee. I sat on that Commission for four years when it was first formed, and it was very functionable with Mayor Lee Brain,, myself and Councillor Randhawa on it.

We had many groups come before that and work with the Rec staff as well as the staff that was appointed and we resolved a lot of problems that didn't have to get out to the community and that ... and I just think that it can be functional it just needs to be revamped a little bit or something like that"   -- Councillor Barry Cunningham

Councillor Niesh countered some of those observations, noting how the current process brought mainly complaints from the public and served little purpose and how there could be Council representation to the existing Advisory committee.

Councillor Randhawa also spoke in favour of the committee process, noting how COVID had an impact on its function in recent years.  

Councillor Cunningham returned to the discussion to advocate for the continuation of the committee noting how Council was there to serve the public.

"Policy is decided by the community, wether its positive or negative feedback that's how policy is decided ... we're here to serve the community, if the community has a problem with one of our services we've got to know about it" -- Councillor Barry Cunningham

To close the debate the amendment to strike the plan to repeal the bylaw was adopted, members suggesting that the Council should keep the current arrangement while they consider the future for community engagement. 

That was accepted by the majority of the council membership, with the exception of councillor Niesh.

Councillor Skelton-Morven asked towards the future for the Small Business Advisory Council, something that the mayor advised would be explored in the future.

Towards his original assignment the Councillor also noted of a conflict he would have with the NDIT committee post that the Mayor had directed his way, which Councillor Randhawa taking up the post in his place.

To bring the review of appointments to a close Councillor Cunningham noted of the need for Alternates for each of the positions and also observed how many are public meetings and Council meeds to make that more widely known to the public. 

You can review the full discussion on the appointments through the City's Video Archive page starting at the one hour, five minute mark.

More notes on Monday's Council Session can be reviewed through our Council Timeline Feature.

A wider overview of past council discussions is available here.

1 comment:

  1. "Policy is decided by the community whether it's positive or negative feedback that's how policy is decided ..." (councillor Cunningham).

    Actually, policy is decided by the council, hopefully with some opportunity for citizens to be heard beforehand at public council meetings such as bylaw hearings and Committee of the Whole.

    Councillor Cunningham says that the recreation commission was "very functional" when he was on it. Is there a record of the feedback that it received? Minutes? Were there public notices for their meetings? Looking through NCR's archives very little of substance seems to have made it into the public realm.

    It makes sense to adopt some other process, whether it is a staff advisory committee or something else, before revoking the bylaw, but Mayor Pond and councillor Neish have raised some concerns that hopefully will followed up on.