Town axes committees

Move designed to make better use of council’s time

Joint public and council committees designed to tackle specific issues like safety, finances and parks, are no more in the Town of Sidney.

Council voted Nov. 13 to axe four committees, some of which included members of the public. Chief administrative officer Randy Humble said it was done to better make use of council’s committee of the whole. The dissolved committees of council include the administration and finance, parks, protective services and sister cities committees.

Humble said these functions will be rolled into council’s committee of the whole, which meets at least once per month. Decisions made at committee of the whole sessions are advanced to regular council meetings for final ratification.

Humble added the members of the public who were sitting on the protective services committee have been notified of the change. Most of the committees, he noted, were made up of councillors.

There is no cost savings associated with the change, he continued, only efficiencies in how council uses its committee of the whole. Those meetings, he said, have been primarily for making development application decisions. Since 2008 however, he said those have been rare. As a result, the town has held fewer committee meetings. This change will roll those extra meetings into one or two per month.

Coun. Marilyn Loveless said dissolving the sister cities committee does not affect the actual Sidney Sister Cities Association. She said council will maintain a link with that group, just not a specific committee. Likewise, added Coun. Mervyn Lougher-Goodey, the local Citizens on Patrol (COPs) group will continue, despite the loss of the protective services committee. It will now become a function of the committee of the whole.