‘It’s put us behind’
Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown says it will be a while before council committees can get started
Things aren’t moving as quickly as Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown hoped they would.
Because of the new Municipal Government Act (MGA), all existing standing committees, their terms of reference and members are now null and void.
For the purposes of the new council’s first public meeting on Monday night, the former chairpersons may present committee reports anyway. That wasn’t clear on Friday.
Because of the procedural bylaw set out by the MGA, new committees won’t be approved before council returns for its regular public monthly meeting in January.
The makeup of the committees will have to be approved at that January public meeting and then they can get started.
Essentially, municipal governance, from a council perspective at least, has slowed for the time being in Charlottetown.
“It’s put us behind,’’ Brown said Friday in an interview with The Guardian on his first day on the job.
The new mayor said the existing structure should have been left in place.
The former council pushed the procedural bylaw through in four days only to have the province extend the deadline.
“The procedural bylaw should have been left to this new council. We could have been on a dual track, continuing with the old system (while) looking at a new system. I’m not going to complain about it. Let’s get it done.’’
Brown didn’t wait for Monday’s meeting to get things started. During his swearing-in address on Thursday, Brown announced that the council advisory committee, whose job will be to determine the makeup of the standing committees, will be comprised of Deputy Mayor Jason Coady and Coun. Alanna Jankov. The committee will also include Brown and Peter Kelly, the city’s chief administrative officer, who is in a non-voting roll.
City council will have the final say on the advisory committee and the makeup of the standing committees.
Brown said he could have waited for a motion from the floor on Monday night to nominate two councillors but noted that Coun. Bob Doiron submitted a notice of motion on Thursday.
“I read it and presented it as part of my speech. We’re ready to go. Let’s get this committee in place so we can start putting together committee structures, terms of references and criteria for qualifications and disqualifications.
“I don’t want to be wasting a month or wasting time on getting this process going.’’
In regard to Coun. Mike Duffy’s request to see whether Doiron violated council’s code of conduct by being critical of council in a letter to the editor in The Guardian recently, Brown said Duffy alone cannot seek a legal opinion.
Brown will continue with former mayor Clifford Lee’s policy that legal opinions can only come from a vote of council.
“If Councillor Duffy wants to forward a resolution on Monday to go that route, then let him do that. It has to go through the public meeting.’’
Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown goes over some paperwork with Jill Stewart, his executive assistant, Friday at City Hall. His first day on the job consisted of two seniors’ socials and preparing for council’s first public monthly meeting on Monday night.