Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Committee Membership to Serve You

Last week, Town Council approved the membership and terms of reference of three facilities committees.

As you may recall, Council approved the creation of three special committees in June – one for Maple Acres Library branch, one for Pelham Fire Station #2, and one for all of the Town’s Recreation Facilities. But at the June 21st meeting, Council asked staff to take another look at the membership and the terms of reference.

The official resolution that Council approved in June was general – it “referred” the Facilities Committees to the Chief Administrative Officer “taking into consideration the numbers of councillors to sit on each Committee.” During the discussions that Council and Committee have had on the matter, however, some Councillors wanted both a balance of representation from across the Town and a balanced number of Councillors on each committee.

First, this meant that the CAO had to scrap his initial suggestion that only one Councillor serve on each of the Library and Firehall committees. Council wanted a mix of Councillors from across the Town. Thus, now Debbie Urbanowicz (Ward One) and Peter Papp (Ward Three) serve on the Firehall Committee and Malcolm Allen (Ward One) and Dave Emmons (Ward Two) serve on the Library Committee.

Second, the direction to balance the number of Councillors on each committee – two on each – conflicted with a staff recommendation.

You see, initially staff recommended that two Councillors sit on the Recreation Committee and that only one Councillor serve on each of the Firehall and Library committees. Why double for Recreation? The work of this committee will be extensive. The Recreation Committee will make recommendations not only regarding the arena, but also renewing all other recreation facilities including the pool, baseball diamonds, parks, and soccer fields. It is anticipated that this committee will exist for many years.

Thus, last week Council voted to ensure that this Recreation Committee included Council representation from all parts of the Town and increased the number of Councillors to three. The Recreation Committee’s representatives include Malcom Allen (Ward One), Sharon Cook (Ward Two), and John Durley (Ward Three).

As your Mayor, I will serve as an “ex officio” member of each committee – I can attend and speak, but not vote or make motions. Each of the special committees will make regular updates by reporting to the one of the Town’s existing General Committees.

I am pleased that Town Council has conclusively approved this representative membership and that these three facilities committees can now begin to serve you and everyone in our Town.