The newly-elected municipal Council for North Grenville is up and running, hitting their stride with remarkable speed, considering none of them have previous experience of municipal government.
The five members have been allocated their areas of responsibility, and have taken care with the symbolic details too. Each member has been named as “liaison” with each department, and the same approach will be taken in the new year when the various committees are established. Nancy Peckford is, of course, our representative on the United Counties Council, and will liaise with Corporate Services in the municipal governance structure. Jim McManaman is named Deputy Mayor, filling in for Nancy when she has to be away for council business. He is also liaison for Planning and Development [see the interview with Jim in this issue].
Craig McCormick will handle the Emergency and Protective Services brief, perhaps a natural fit for an old OPP Sergeant. Doreen O’Sullivan takes on Parks, Recreation and Culture; while John Barclay will be responsible for dealing with Public Works issues.
Council has plans to establish Committees early in the new year, and at that point the public will be invited to apply to serve on the various boards. Notices will appear in the Times to provide information of how, when and where applications may be submitted for consideration.
As will be noted in Deron Johnston’s article on the new Council’s first public meeting last week, there has been a change in the way in which Council and staff are arranged in the Council Chamber. To indicate their position as the ultimate decision-makers, Council sit in front, facing the public gallery, with only the Municipal Clerk seated with them. Municipal staff, specifically senior management, sit just in front of the public, facing the Council, ready to supply information and help to the elected members.
This is a symbolic move and is just one of a number of more substantial changes this new council is making, and will make, to the way the business of council is conducted. But, although symbolic, these changes are also significant of a new attitude and approach to government on the part of Council and municipal staff alike which, if carried through the next four years, will establish a renewed dynamism in municipal affairs which can only be positive and an encouragement to the public to become even more involved in our own future.