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M.D. examining administrative and elected roles

Posted on January 29, 2020 by Taber Times

By Cole Parkinson
Taber Times

With the final report from LadderUp Consulting coming forward to Municipal District of Taber council, a related policy was brought forward for further discussion.

In reviewing the M.D. Council Role Profiles policy, LadderUp indicated that particular policy would be required as it would help to explain the distinct roles of reeve, deputy reeve, individual councillors and council as a whole in alignment with their strategic plan.

The policy was discussed previously at their Oct. 30 policy committee meeting and a review of the Procedural Bylaw was asked for to determine if they would require this particular policy that would align with the Municipal Government Act, which was discussed at the M.D. policy meeting on Jan. 6.

With the council role profiles policy being a fairly large document, some issues within were brought forward by council.

“I always have some concern when we give a descriptive ‘council provide thoughtful comment and feedback.’ I’m not sure how you tell someone if it is thoughtful. Also, ‘council as a whole thoroughly and carefully review all reporting and request for decision.’ I don’t know that I like that kind of language. Same as ‘keeping an open mind about options for achieving success.’ I’m just not sure we can evaluate what that is. ‘Collaborating with other council members to set the overall direction of the M.D.’, I’m worried about other members of council. You could reflect that it is split within council and in the interest of working together, ‘collaborating with council.’ Just because of the question of some of the things we have been through, just talking about operational issues. I was wondering about Council as a Whole. ‘Providing governance and oversight to M.D. operations,’ is oversight the right word? Or is that just reviewing?” asked Coun. Tamara Miyanaga. “As part of effective oversight, asking questions of the CAO and requesting information where reporting shows inconsistencies, errors or gaps.’ That shows to me that there seems to be some negative sense to it. We trust that our CAO will provide us with adequate information so I’m not sure that should be in the roles. ‘As part of effective oversight, asking questions of the CAO and requesting information where reporting shows inconsistencies, errors or gaps.’ Does this imply that we know council should be reviewing the agendas or do we hold back on a vote at a committee until we get approval from council? That would be quite onerous. ‘Not voting for a position that has not been agreed to by council as a whole, if that position will bind council or the M.D. in any way.’ Will we be reviewing all of the agendas and motions from our committees? This is quite an onerous document. The bylaw is quite long itself, but some of this language is not matched up to the bylaw.”

Council asked administration whether or not the policy had been reviewed along with their Procedural Bylaw.

With the M.D.’s new CAO, Arlos Crofts, just starting at the beginning of the year, he stated that had not been achieved yet.

“I have not (gone over it) in contexts to the bylaw. I can still do that yet and come back with some potential alternative scenarios,” said Crofts.

Others on council also had issues around voting at a committee level.

“Lots of conversations are brought up through a meeting and you are asked to vote on. Sometimes it’s hard to say ‘I have to run this by council.’ I think everybody realizes that is a recommendation back to council, nothing gets done without council support. I just see that as onerous. If an issue is brought up at the committee meeting, you have to vote on it,” said Coun. Brian Brewin.

With the length of the document and with administration not fully gone through it all, it was stated things may be slow-moving for the time being until all considerations were made.

“One comment I will make, because I have had a chance to go through some of this stuff, is that we do need to get through (LadderUp’s final report) and come up with some sort of implementation plan. I don’t want to speak to some of this because I don’t know what exists already but when I see ‘complying with terms of reference for the committee’, I don’t even know if your committees have terms of reference. We have to proceed appropriately,” explained Crofts. “The LadderUp (report) is going to take a while to implement, it is going to happen incrementally. That is how I envision it happening, as far as the resources we can apply to it. This will be a part of that.”

With plenty of factors relating to the council roles policy, council agreed that taking things slow would be best overall.

“I think it will be good to have the Procedural Bylaw and policies in alignment as well, and similar language to our (Strategic Plan),” said Deputy Reeve Jen Crowson.

A motion was made to table the discussion for a future policy meeting.

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