October 31, 2012

Council-Staff meetings on hold

As published in The Erin Advocate

Monthly Council-Staff working meetings, intended to help coordinate and plan Town business, have been put on hold until January at the request of new Chief Administrative Officer Frank Miele.

At his first public meeting last week, Miele listened as council and senior staff discussed various ongoing issues. But as usual, they did not conduct regular business, since it was not an official council meeting.

"You don't need to have the whole staff here – it should be a visionary approach," said Miele, who will propose a new system to keep councillors updated about issues in each department.

"These meetings have devolved into something we didn't want," said Councillor John Brennan. "If it's just another council meeting, we don't need it. But we still need a department overview."

"They are council meetings without decisions," said Councillor Barb Tocher.

The meetings were a compromise plan after Mayor Lou Maieron previously failed to get agreement on establishment of a more elaborate committee system. He said last week the intent was to "deal with complex issues in advance." Clerk Kathryn Ironmonger suggested that quarterly updates might be sufficient.

Councillors will still have to attend several extra meetings in the next two months as they start deliberations on the 2013 budget.