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Collingwood council trials meeting changes

For the next three months, Collingwood council is testing the committee of the whole system, instead of the former separated committees; Coun. Jeffery will chair the committee meetings
Collingwood council chambers is on the second floor of town hall at 97 Hurontario Street.

With a new council has come a new committee-of-the-whole structure, and last week Coun. Kathy Jeffery was appointed as chair for the three-month pilot project.

Back in March, Collingwood council voted in favour of moving to a committee-of-the-whole structure as a pilot project starting in May until the end of the summer break in 2023 before deciding on a permanent change.

While Deputy Mayor Tim Fryer put forward Mayor Yvonne Hamlin’s name for the chair position during their meeting on May 15, Hamlin declined the nomination.

“I do appreciate the kind words. I think we’ve evolved to the position of committee of the whole with a chair that should be someone other than the mayor,” said Hamlin. “This is temporary. We’re going to review this and see how it’s going in the fall. Let’s change it now and if we want, we can switch it up again in the fall.”

The new structure sees council/committee of the whole meetings on the first and third Mondays of the month, starting at 2 p.m. Council meetings will also be on the first and third Mondays, following the committee meeting. However, council would be making final decisions on committee matters at council meetings two weeks later (not typically in the same evening). 

A committee of the whole is comprised of all members of council who fully participate in debate and forward recommendations to council for final decision. The format is less formal and typically conducive to more discussion. 

During the May 15 meeting, Jeffery was appointed to the chair spot by a vote of 5-4 and ran against Coun. Christoper Baines and Coun. Deb Doherty. Doherty was appointed vice chair by a vote of 6-3, and ran against Baines and Fryer.

Previously, members of council met for three different committees monthly, in addition to two council meetings per month. The committees include strategic initiatives, corporate and community services, and development and operations.

The system divided up the range of council responsibility into specialized areas of interest. All council members served on the strategic initiatives committee, but the other two committees are made up of four (of eight) council members plus the mayor. There were also two regular council meetings at the end of each month to ratify the business discussed at the three meetings.

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Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen brings 13 years of experience to her role as reporter for Village Media, primarily covering Collingwood and education.
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