By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
Tuesday’s inaugural meeting of Cobourg council’s Strategic Priorities and Policy standing committee not only launched a new operating structure for council, but also provided a chance for committee assignments and a review of how things will work.
While the Strategic Priorities and Policy standing committee consists of every member of council, assignments made to the other three committees saw Mayor Lucas Cleveland holding a seat on each one. Otherwise, memberships consists of:
Corporate, Finance and Legislative – Deputy Mayor Nicole Beatty and Councillor Randy Barber
Public Works, Planning and Development – Councillors Brian Darling and Miriam Mutton
Community Services, Protection and Economic Development – Councillors Adam Bureau and Aaron Burchat
Cleveland described how each councillor had been polled on his or her preferences for council assignments. Thanks to one councillor who had no preference and was slotted into one remaining slot, each councillor got his or her first choice.
The meeting schedule calls for committees to meet the first week of the month – Strategic Priorities and Policy at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Community Services, Protection and Economic Development at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Public Works, Planning and Development at 1 p.m. Wednesday, and Corporate, Finance and Legislative at 1 p.m. Thursday.
The role of these committees will not be to take action, but to make recommendations for actions that need to be taken to the regular session of council – which will now take place the last week of the month, Wednesday at 6 p.m.
This replaces the former system of a committee-of-the-whole meeting Mondays at 6 p.m., followed the subsequent Monday by a 6 p.m. regular council meeting and, the Monday after that, by a blank spot on the calendar (which could be pressed into service for public meetings, if necessary) – in a regular three-week rotation
With three committee members, a quorum is considered to be two members present. If two members are absent, the meeting may be rescheduled or even cancelled.
Councillor Miriam Mutton asked if alternates should be named for each member.
“I have made it quite clear in my past comments – and I haven’t changed my position – that when you have a quorum of two, it seriously undermines the ability of this council to function,” Mutton insisted.
Municipal Clerk Brent Larmer reminded her that this is not a concern, since decisions made by the committees are not final until approved at a regular council session.