Brockton council looks at revamping committees

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BROCKTON – Council had the opportunity to look at and discuss the recommendations in the review of committees of council, presented by Clerk Fiona Hamilton. The matter had been tabled from the Oct. 27 meeting.

The review was completed at council’s request, stemming from meetings for the 2020 municipal budget, in response to financial pressures.

As stated in the report, COVID-19 meant many committee meetings were delayed during the spring months. When they resumed, staff were unable to consult directly with committee members.

However, as Hamilton noted, the pandemic caused additional financial pressures and “highlighted the importance of finding efficiencies and streamlining processes for minimal effect on residents.”

Staff reviewed the number of committees of council with a view towards consolidating or eliminating some of them and thus reducing staff overtime and other expenses.

As of March 2020, the municipality had more than 15 committees of council.

Among the recommendations made by staff were reduction of each committee to seven members, term limits for committee members, and proper succession planning.

Staff also had recommendations on reducing the number of meetings.

“It’s important we get this right,” commented Mayor Chris Peabody.

Among the items discussed by council was the recreation committee and whether it should be for Brockton or remain Walkerton. It would have an impact on the volunteers who serve on the committee. Also discussed was the mandate for the childcare committee, the possible need for a roads committee, the use of sub-committees and the number of meetings.

Council passed a motion to hold a public information session and allow time for committee members to comment. A further report will be brought back to council Dec. 8.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times