Whiewater aiming for faster council meetings with reporting change

·2 min read

Whitewater Region – Council meetings may be quicker if staff no longer review their reports to council.

During the Wednesday, March 3 Whitewater Region council meeting, Councillor Charlene Jackson appeared upset when she realized council was approaching its three-hour time limit and a motion to continue was required.

“We’ve got really long meetings,” she said. “Either we meet weekly or we shut these meetings down to three hours.”

This is not the first time a meeting has extended past the three-hour limit, she said.

“I’m getting tired of over three hours,” Coun. Jackson said. “It’s a lot of sitting.”

When Mayor Mike Moore suggested ending the council meeting right then and have another meeting the following Wednesday, Chief Administrative Officer Robert Tremblay said there were items on the agenda that needed to be addressed due to upcoming deadlines.

Looking at the agenda, Coun. Jackson questioned if it was possible to just deal with the deadline items, since it appeared the meeting would go on for at least another two to three hours.

Mr. Tremblay said there were three items that had to be dealt with adding, “Staff are working on items and have to bring them forward. I apologize for the length of it, but you ask a lot of us, and that means we have to bring items to you.”

Coun. Jackson suggested staff not review their reports, just ask if there are any questions, considering council members should have already read the reports prior to attending the meeting.

“We don’t need the reports verbatim or summarized,” she said. “Staff can explain if we have questions.”

Councillor Neil Nicholson introduced a motion to extend the meeting for an hour to deal with the three agenda items and the rest could be handled at another time.

“I’m good if we have more meetings,” he said. “These are important topics that we’re having. I really think we’re achieving a whole bunch of stuff. I acknowledge I don’t have a job that I’m away from my farm all day, so I can appreciate the impact of going late into the evening.”

Council agreed to extend the hour for one meeting.

Note: Council members who work away from their homes include Councillors Jackson, Chris Olmstead and Dave Mackay while those retired or not working are Mayor Moore, Reeve Cathy Regier, Councillors Daryl McLaughlin and Nicholson.

Connie Tabbert, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader