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Guelph council meetings

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Mayor Karen Farbridge said she hoped a new agenda forecast process will even out council’s workload over the course of a year.

Council gives selves another month off

Not all city councillors agree with a new city hall direction that aims to improve efficiency by holding fewer council meetings.
Council voted 10-3 in favour of changes to the council meeting schedule for 2013, which could eliminate council and committee meetings in July – in addition to the normal council meeting shutdown for the whole month of August.
Coun. Gloria Kovach said she was “shocked to see” that the 2013 schedule also has no council or committee meetings happening in January, aside from a planning meeting on Jan. 14.
“I’ve always taken issue with not meeting in August,” noted Kovach, who was joined in voting against the motion by councillors Cam Guthrie and Bob Bell.
Kovach said she objected to vacations taking precedence over council meetings in August. Coun. Maggie Laidlaw countered by saying it makes sense for council to have August off when a lot of other people are also vacationing.
Mayor Karen Farbridge said she hoped a new agenda forecast process will even out council’s workload over the course of a year. As things stand, she said, council has some meetings that last 10 minutes and others than last over four hours.
For the most part, council holds a regular meeting on the fourth Monday of the month to consider committee reports and other business, and it meets earlier in the month to deal with planning issues.
It also holds special meetings and workshops as required. This week, council has two budget meetings, as well as the regular monthly meeting held Monday.
Council’s 2013 calendar has a full slate of meetings scheduled for July. However, they’re listed as “placeholder meetings,” and it’s noted that they “may be cancelled if business can be consolidated as a part of other regularly scheduled or special meetings” of council and its committees.
“An agenda forecast process has been implemented in order to better coordinate and align the business of the city and effectively manage agendas beyond the most immediate meeting cycle,” says a city staff report, “in an effort to regulate meeting length and consider strategic-issues management along with the development of reports and presentations.
“As a result of this process, consideration will be given to consolidate business in an effort to avoid the need for July council and committee meetings,” the report says.
“The decision to do so will be subject to the quantity of business to be consolidated as well as the associated time sensitivity involved.”

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