Sackville will be represented at annual FCM conference
Councillor stresses importance of sending delegates who will ‘do the best job’
The mayor and two of Sackville’s veteran town councillors will head to Quebec City this spring to take part in a national municipalities conference.
Town council recently approved the trip and associated expenses for Mayor John Higham and councillors Bruce Phinney and Michael Tower to attend the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) annual conference from May 30 to June 2, including costs for registration, mileage, hotel, per diems and meals. Those attending must report back to council on conference events and workshops.
Although all councillors voted in favour of the delegates attending this year’s conference, Coun. Bill Evans pointed out council needs to more seriously consider how to ensure it is sending representatives who will get the most out of the workshops and the networking.
“Rather than thinking of attendance at a conference as an entitlement that everyone gets a turn at, we might consider deciding among ourselves who the most appropriate person to send would be,” said Evans, “And we could send the delegate that we think will do the best job in terms of attending stuff and bringing back information and sharing it with the rest of council.”
The FCM annual conference offers an array of keynote speakers, panel discussions, workshops, study tours and a trade show.
Evans said these conferences are not to be taken lightly.
“This is work. This is a job we’re doing on behalf of the town and I don’t think it’s good enough for councillors to just go and come back and produce a less than fulsome report.”
Coun. Andrew Black agreed, saying that’s why the after-conference reports are included as part of the agreement in attending.
“It is mandatory to report on what you’ve done, your attend- ance, what you’ve discovered, what might be helpful that would benefit the community or fellow councillors or staff,” said Black. “So I think it should be stressed that there is adequate reporting back to council and accountability for things like this, considering how much money it does cost to send councillors to these events.”
Coun. Bruce Phinney also suggested perhaps it might be beneficial for town managers to also report back when they return from conferences.