Cobourg – New Governance Structure to Begin in New Year

In City Hall

Town of Cobourg Council transitioning to Standing Committee Structure
The Town of Cobourg Legislative Services Division would like to remind residents that the new Council schedule and structure will commence January 2024.

When Council returns in January there will be a new structure to meetings and process.

Following the recommendations received through an Organizational Review in 2021 and an extensive community consultation process, Council will be transitioning to a standing
committee structure.

Standing Committee Structure at a Glance:
Standing Committees are affiliated with municipal divisions and overall priorities and policy decisions. Cobourg will now have four standing committees consisting of:
• Strategic Initiatives and Policy Standing Committee – Meetings generally held on the first Tuesday of the month at 1pm.
• Community Services, Protection and Economic Development Standing Committee – Meetings generally held on the first Wednesday of the month at 9:30am
• Public Works, Planning and Development Standing Committee – Meetings generally held on the first Wednesday of the month at 1pm
• Corporate Finance and Legislative Standing Committee – Meetings generally held on the first Thursday of the month at 1pm.
Regular Council meetings will generally be held on the last Wednesday of the month at 6pm Membership
• Three members of Council will sit on each committee apart from the Strategic Initiatives and Policy Standing Committee for which each member of Council will participate.
• The Mayor will sit on each standing committee making one of three members. If the Mayor cannot attend, the Deputy Mayor will be the alternate.
• A representative from the Clerk’s Office and the Office of the CAO will sit on each standing committee. Senior Divisional staff will sit on their appropriate committees only.
• Other Members of Council can attend standing committees of which they are not members to ask questions and hear information to prepare for Regular Council Meetings.
When Council returns at the January 9, 2024 Strategic Priorities and Policy Standing Committee they will determine membership designation for each standing committee. Council
Members will be given the choice mid-way through the council term to change Standing Committees.

Decision Making Process:
All staff reports will be submitted to their respective standing committee for deliberation.
Members will recommend that Council approve the suggested course of action, or they can make alternate proposals. At a Regular Council meeting, a vote would be taken to approve or
amend the recommendation of the standing committee or of staff. The final decision of Council will be published in the meeting minutes.

Local Boards:
Council will maintain the set Statutory Local Boards and Advisory Committees being the Accessibility Advisory Committee and Heritage Advisory Committee and others which may be
mandated from time to time. Council may enact Citizen Advisory Committees to Council and consider the creation of Task Forces and Ad Hoc Committees based on the Council Strategic
Plan with a specific mandate to achieve Council goals and initiatives during the Council Term.

Public Participation:
To increase the Town’s accountability and transparency staff have introduced the concept of a “Speaker” at a Council meeting and clarified the requirements of a Delegation. Historically,
members of the public have not been provided with an opportunity to speak at Council regarding a staff report directly before being deliberated by Council. The introduction of the
Speaker will allow members of the public attending in person to register at the beginning of the meeting to voice their comments to Council at the time the report is being considered.
If a member of the public would like to speak to a matter not on the Council Agenda they may register as a Delegation with the Clerk’s Office, prior to the distribution of the agenda. This
provides greater transparency for the public as anyone viewing the agenda upon publishing will receive ample notice of all matters for Council’s consideration. If an urgent delegation
request is received outside of the prescribed timelines, it may be included on the Agenda at the Clerk’s discretion.

2023 Governance Review:
Town of Cobourg initiated a review of its governance by-laws and policies in April 2023. The goal of the governance review and amendments was to update the Town’s Procedural by-law
and other governance related policies and by-laws to streamline processes and improve the efficiency of the business of Town Council and its Committees and Boards. These by-laws
dictate such things as the structure of Council Meetings, how decisions are made, steps taken to ensure meetings are transparent and open to the public and how citizens are able to
communicate with Council on agenda items or issues in our community.

If members of the public have questions about the Standing Committee structure or would like to learn more about how they can participate in Council meetings, please contact the Clerks
Department at clerk@cobourg.ca or call 905-372-4301

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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