Council changes meeting schedule
Turner Valley: Committee of the whole moves to daytime
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014 08:18 am
A foothills town council is hoping one daytime meeting a month will better accommodate staff and address time constraints councillors are experiencing.
Turner Valley Town council unanimously agreed at its regular meeting on Jan. 20 to hold its committee of the whole meetings the first Monday of each month at 9:30 a.m. rather than the previous time of 6:30 p.m.
Regular business meetings will continue the third Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m.
Town council initially discussed having one council meeting a month rather than two, with the committee of the whole items discussed in the morning and regular business in the afternoon the third Monday of each month.
Mayor Kelly Tuck said council has a lot of projects to work on this year and the longer day meetings will give council much-needed time to discuss those items.
“We are running out of time constantly because we have so much going on,” she said. “We have so many projects we need to get done.”
Coun. Dona Fluter agreed council is short on time for discussions and the longer day meeting is needed.
“I just think we need more time,” she said. “We need a full day and an evening.”
Fluter said the committee of the whole meetings typically requires staff members to attend, therefore having the meetings during the day would better suit their schedules.
Coun. Lane Park, who didn’t attend the Jan. 20 meeting, told council earlier he will take a day off of work once a month so he can attend the meetings.
Town of Turner Valley chief administrative officer Leslie Fitzgerald suggested council hold the committee of the whole meeting during the day to allow for more discussion and the regular business meeting at night.
“Normally the regular business meetings are shorter,” she said. “If they are held in the evening and the committee of the whole during the day that would be my suggestion.”
Coun. Barry Williamson suggested council try Fitzgerald’s suggestion as a pilot project and review its success after three months.
“I think it’s a good recommendation,” he said. “When we get two or three delegations, the time involved in that could be significant. You may want them on different days.”
One regular attendee at council meetings has concerns with the change.
Turner Valley resident Maureen Nelson approached council on Jan. 20 to suggest council meet more than once a month.
She said she attended the Jan. 13 meeting and found it very lengthy. She also expressed concerns about the lack of time between the committee of the whole and regular business meeting.
“If council were to have committee of the whole in the morning and business in the afternoon there is not enough time for councillors or people of the public to get information you need to do the due diligence to pass the stuff that was discussed in the morning,” she said.
Mayor Kelly Tuck said she shares Nelson’s concerns about needing more time between the committee of the whole and regular business meetings.
While she supported changing the meeting schedule, Coun. Sandra Rishaug said she is concerned a month time span between meetings could cause a disconnect between council members.
The councillors suggested holding special meetings if they aren’t able to cover all items on the agenda or for delegations they can’t fit on the agenda.
It was also decided meetings scheduled on holidays will take place the following day.