Full steam ahead Dec. 4
Norfolk County council returns to regularly scheduled programming Dec. 4.
That’s the day the new council elected Oct. 22 is sworn in.
The new council’s first committee meeting follows a week later on Tuesday, Dec. 11. This will be followed by the final council meeting of 2018 on Tuesday, Dec. 18.
Norfolk council has not met on a regular basis since early June. The current council has been lame-duck since the end of July after a third of incumbent members declined to defend their seats.
Another four incumbents were defeated in last month’s election, including local municipal veteran and mayor Charlie Luke, of Simcoe.
Norfolk staff was asked Monday whether now is an opportune time to implement some scheduling changes that have been talked about in recent months.
Since he was taken on last year, CAO David Cribbs has pointed out that council meetings are expensive and occur more frequently in Norfolk than they do in other municipalities.
Norfolk council has also experimented over the past year with an early-afternoon start as a means of completing meetings around 9 p.m.
Despite all this, clerk Andy Grozelle says council will stick with the four-meeting per month format at least till the end of next summer. Grozelle says a number of important issues have backed up since June that will require the new council’s attention.
There is also an intensive budget session to transact in January that – in the past – has taken up a week of council’s time.
“We certainly wouldn’t be opposed to reducing meeting frequency,” Grozelle said Monday in an email.
“With the current council’s lame-duck status though there are a lot of reports to come forward in December, January and early February. We also have a budget and a lot of education sessions planned.
“As a result, I don’t think staff would bring options on changing meeting times or frequencies for the first couple months. The incoming council may certainly direct immediate changes. However, my general experience is that they likely will just get caught up in the big issues for the next few months.” Grozelle adds that council’s meeting schedule has been set and approved through next August.
Soon after Cribbs took over as CAO in 2017, he suggested that council members stick to the agenda and keep their comments relevant to the motions on the table.
With a full complement of senior staff in the council chamber at Governor Simcoe Square, Cribbs pointed out that each hour of council costs the taxpayer about $3,600.