Tuesday, November 10, 2009  
   Volume 79 - Issue 45 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“The police office is not the
place for him. It’s not his
place of business.”
- Councillor David Cole  
- on the bylaw officer’s   


Council has officially accepted the corporate review completed by George B. Cuff & Associates Ltd –– in principle, at least.
The review, commissioned by the municipality for $65,000, offered a great deal of criticism about both council and municipal administration and operations, and offered 25 official recommendations to improve the municipality. One of the recommendations was for council to officially accept the report in principle, and to have administration create a plan to enact the other recommendations. It was recommended that council have George Cuff return no later than April to assess council’s progress in implementing the report’s suggestions.
Councillor Dean Ward made a motion at the November 3 council meeting to accept the report in principle and to have administration create an action plan for the recommendations by the first meeting in January. He initially suggested having the action plan completed by the first meeting in December, but Chief Administrative Officer Gordon Lundy indicated that with budget season taking place, that might be unrealistic.
The motion passed by a 6-1 vote, Councillor Gary Taje opposed. Councillor Taje said that he opposed the vote because he wanted the action plan finished sooner. He said that he has no problem with the majority of the report, and that council should move to adopt parts of it.
The report, which was presented to the public on October 29 and is available on the municipal website, identifies numerous issues with the municipality, including the conduct of council, the relationship between council and the mayor, the relationship between council, the CAO, and administration, and the financial issues facing the municipality now and in the future.
The number of criticisms and observations levelled in the report are literally too numerous to detail in this space. However, some can be mentioned in brief.
The report identifies communication and trust as large issues, both in council and in administration. It observes that in addition to the political rift in council itself, there are trust issues between some councillors and some members of administration, and communication issues that must be addressed throughout the municipal structure.
The report also identifies the deepening financial problems faced by the municipality, which has seen tax base disappearing and costs rising, and which has no formal plan for reversing this trend.
The recommendations council must consider are briefly summarized as follows.
1. Accept the report (completed).
2. Improve orientation for all councillors, with a facilitated orientation at the beginning of each council term to review council’s governance function, regardless of previous council experience.
3. Create a policy for ongoing training of council for an improved understanding of their approach to governance.
4. Make the CAO both accountable and effective, emphasizing his role as principal policy advisor to council and placing him at a separate table from council.
5. Bring in a qualified facilitator as soon as possible to guide council through a strategic planning process.
6. Council should encourage the CAO to speak to each item on the agenda.
7. Council should commit by resolution to stop all private meetings of councillors, and to cease private email exchanges between councillors and administration
8. Eliminate standing committees of council and create an overall Governance and Priorities Committee consisting of the entire council.
9. Council should hold meetings every year with all agencies and boards that has council-appointed members. The municipality should create a community volunteer registry and provide training programs for community volunteers.
10. The mayor should refuse to regularly attend meetings of management.
11. Council should review all current policies and focus on governing the community based mainly on policy issues.
12. The CAO and management should refuse to be influenced by any member of council between meetings, and any such attempt should be reported to council as a whole. Management should commit to providing non-political advice.
13. Governance issues should be identified as a request for decision in reports to council.
14. The CAO should present all departmental reports to council in a single CAO report.
15. Twice-annual meetings of all municipal staff members should take place.
16. A policy for formal employee assessments should be created.
17. The CAO should hold weekly meetings with all senior management.
18. The CAO should assure all councillors that formall decisions made by council will be implemented as soon as possible.
19. Specific financial policies should be developed.
20. A long range plan should be developed.
21. The municipality should recalculate its future capital needs.
22. A full review of facilities and services should be undertaken, with the object of reducing costs.
23. A sustainability review of the electrical cost centre should occur.
24. A succession policy should be developed for the CAO position.
25. Council’s progress on these recommendations should be reviewed no later than April of 2010.
The report is available online at www.town. crowsnestpass.ab.ca.
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   Volume 79 - Issue 45 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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