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At the regular Council meeting on December 21, a motion was passed that put the new Governance Rules into effect. The idea was first proposed when the current council first met in late 2014 - a small Ad Hoc committee then worked on the details and finally presented their proposal to the public November 30, 2015. Below is a report on the public comments/inputs, changes from the proposal as first described by Stephen Peacock November 18 and a summary of changes from the current Processes/ Procedures. None of this includes a rationale for the changes so Councillor Debra McCarthy delayed publication a week so she could write a rationale for why she supports the changes. (Link below).

Public Comments

At the special meeting to review Governance on November 30, the recommendations of the Ad Hoc committee were presented and the public was invited to give input. (See the recommendations in this post).

Here is a summary of what was said.

  • Bill Thompson said that the Waterfront Advisory committee should not be combined into the Parks committee since its mandate was not just Marina expansion.
  • Gudrun Ludorf-Weaver wants more emphasis on sustainability – this could be achieved with a coordinator whose sole mandate was sustainability but also with a focus on climate change and community energy planning.  Otherwise she said, these issues would slip through the cracks.  The Director of Planning, Glenn McGlashon said that sustainability is a specialized discipline and would need experts to be brought in.
  • Warren McCarthy – representing the Cobourg Taxpayers Association (CTA) – said that Governance was one of the most important decisions of the Council’s term.  He said that the CTA recommends the system of Committee of the Whole without Coordinators – that is, reports to Council would be directly by staff.   He said that the report by the Ad Hoc Committee did not include a list of advantages and disadvantages of the options nor give reasons for the recommendations.

Warren said that the Coordinator-Councillor, rather than being Council’s primary auditor of their department’s performance, tends to become the defender and cheerleader for that staff department. They represent the department at Council and make recommendations on behalf of their department. This leaves the other six Council members, those who do not get to understand that department as well, with the job of questioning and critiquing its efficiency, quality and effectiveness.   Therefore, directors should give reports directly to Council.

He also asked for the names of the members of the Ad Hoc Committee. They are: Gil Brocanier, Debra  McCarthy, Stephen Peacock, Lorraine Brace, John Henderson.

Changes from original Proposal

  • All meetings would stay at 7:00pm (except in summer) per the current practice.  Larry Sherwin had said he would quit if the times were changed.
  • All Waterfront advisory committee members would be invited to join the Parks and Recreation Committee not just three and the name of the Parks and Recreation committee would not be changed. The reference to the review of operations to be removed.
  • The Public Art Policy to be reviewed and updated.
  • There will no longer be Council or Municipal staff appointed to the Cobourq/Port Hope Waterfront Trail and Parks Committee – special interest/stakeholder organization.
  • The Sustainability Plan and Climate Action Plan for the Town of Cobourg to be given a higher priority and be used to inform the Town's sustainability efforts moving forward [This looks like a response to Gudrun's concerns].
  • Municipal Staff/Directors or Managers as required, will explain their respective staff reports to Council and Council will present the topic/item to be presented and read out the motion following the explanation by staff. [This looks like a response to CTA concerns].
  • Council Members will be encouraged to submit questions to Coordinators or Municipal Staff to include on the monthly Coordinator meeting agenda for discussion.

It was also clarified that the intent is to have the changes in place “before January 31, 2016” with a review to be conducted during the Strategic Plan review in January or February 2017.

Changes from Current Process/Procedures

Most operations are unchanged – listed below are the significant changes. (See Debra McCarthy's report for more on why these changes are being made)

  • In addition to the existing coordinators, backups have been assigned.
  • All meetings to be broadcast – not just regular Council meetings – no word on how this will be done or exactly when.
  • During Committee of the Whole meetings, the reporting Coordinator will chair the meeting during the report
  • 'Community Announcements' heading to be added to Council meeting agendas to highlight important community events to be articulated at Regular Council
  • Councillors are invited to also attend the “coordinator meetings” of departments that they are not assigned to.
  • Waterfront Advisory Committee to be merged with Parks and Recreation Committee
  • CAPS (Cobourg Art in Public Spaces) Committee to be initially merged into Heritage Advisory committee and eventually into a new Arts and Culture Advisory Committee.
  • Senior Advisory Committee to be dissolved
  • The Environmental Committee to  be dissolved and be consolidated with the Active Transportation Committee under Public Works with a new name and terms of reference
  • The Planning Advisory Committee be re-named "Planning and Sustainability Advisory Committee".
  • There will no longer be a Councillor or Municipal staff appointed to the Cobourg/Port Hope Waterfront Trail and Parks Committee – special interest/stakeholder organization;
  • All reports to Council to be on a standardized format per the recently approved standard report format.
  • “Municipal Staff/Directors or Managers as required, will explain their respective staff reports to Council and Council will present the topic/item to be presented and read out the motion following the explanation by staff.” This looks like staff will in fact report directly to Council but they will be supported by their assigned coordinator.

Councillor Coordinator assignment

  • Economic Development: Coordinator: Mayor Brocanier. Alternate: Deputy Mayor Henderson
  • General Government: Coordinator: Deputy Mayor Henderson. Alternate: Councillor Darling
  • Planning and Development Coordinator: Councillor Darling. Alternate: Deputy Mayor Henderson
  • Parks and Recreation Coordinator: Councillor Rickerby. Alternate: Councillor McCarthy
  • Public Works Services Coordinator: Councillor Rowden. Alternate: Councillor Sherwin
  • Community Services Coordinator: Councillor McCarthy. Alternate: Councillor Rickerby
  • Protection Services Coordinator: Councillor Sherwin. Alternate: Councillor Rowden

When the new Committees are formed and all members named, they will be listed here (Currently 2015 committees).



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