Committee reports to act as measure of success

By on February 5, 2018
City hall. (Herald file photo).

Despite the requirement to disband its committees ahead of this year’s election, city council has taken a step to determine their effectiveness by requiring annual reports.

Council’s committee policy already contains a reporting requirement, but to date no reports have been made to council in accordance with this policy, a staff report in council’s Jan. 23 agenda stated.

The policy review committee recommended incorporating an annual reporting requirement into each committee’s terms of reference, and council carried the motion unanimously by a 6-0 vote.

The tourism, policy, finance, police, environment and social planning committees will now prepare reports each October that will include a variety of information measuring their effectiveness.

Each report will contain the number of times a committee met, a summary of activities, how many times meeting were cancelled and the number of recommendations each committee made to council.

Coun. Mike Goetz was absent from the meeting.

“I don’t have a problem with our committees reporting to us — that should be happening and it does happen on kind of a regular basis kind of ad hoc,” Coun. Diana Norgaard told her fellow councillors. “My concern is with the date because the committees this year will not be sitting as of October.”

Norgaard added that she hoped that was something council could “work around” to which Mayor Neil Menard replied “I’m sure we can.”

Corporate officer Sean Smith told the Herald making the change to the terms of reference will “strengthen the expectation that a report will be made” as it is a document frequently referred to by committees.

“I understand that there hadn’t been a ton of reporting from committees prior to implementing this change, so we’re hoping that this change will facilitate more reporting,” Smith said.

This new requirement requires more than the summary of activity the committee policy asks for, Smith said.

City of Merritt deputy clerk Carole Fraser said there was no annual reporting from city committees to council in the past.

“We wanted this council to be able to assess efficiency, but also to provide statistics that are going to be beneficial in helping a new council understand what’s worked and what hasn’t worked,” said Smith.

At the end of each council term, city committees stop meeting as all appointments come to a close, as per the council committee policy.

As 2018 is an election year, each of the city’s six committees will disband by Sept. 30, having only existed for about two of council’s four-year term.

City committees under the current council started much later in the term than the previous council, Fraser said.

“There was a gap with this entire council,” Fraser said. “I think that’s because when council was doing their strategic planning, they were debating which committees they wanted.”

City council isn’t required to create or bring back any committees, but has the option to determine whether or not there is a need for one.

“The next council will review the committees again,” said Fraser. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that all of those committees are going to be what that council wants.”

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