Chestermere City Council is speeding up the decision-making process by changing all Committee of the Whole meetings to Regular Council meetings.
City Council voted to remove Committee of the Whole meetings during the April 19 Regular Council meeting.
In the past, Committee of the Whole meetings have been used for administration to present reports and presentations for information, but no decisions can be made.
“Our committee of the whole meetings and generally just an information meeting, however, we have areas in the council meeting for staff reports for information,” Mayor Jeff Colvin said. “We’re looking to allow us to have business as well on these days, and still get information to council. It allows us to be a little more efficient.”
The new council meetings would still have presentations and staff reports for information where councillors can ask questions and receive the report for information, but they can also make a decision, or direct administration on next steps.
“The advantage of having an extra council meeting is that sometimes things move quickly, and council would like to make a decision,” Legislative Advisor Jerry Gautreau said during the April 12 Committee of the Whole meeting.
The new meeting format wouldn’t be any different than a Committee of the Whole meeting, except councillors could give direction to administration, and make decisions.
The new meeting schedule would include three council meetings every month, and ideally, presentations or staff reports would have a time limit on follow-up discussions, to ensure an efficient timeline.
“The advantage is it allows us to make some decisions as required that council could vote on, it would be similar with our council meetings with staff reports for information,” Gautreau said.
During the April 12 Committee of the Whole meeting, Councillor Stephen Hanley explained that the city could get a time saving out of the change.
“At a Committee of the Whole, something gets presented and it has to come back to a council meeting the week after and have almost the same presentation again,” Hanley said. “That would allow us to move quicker.”