Council to examine delegation criteria

By Karen Fallon

During the election campaign, says councillor Diane Pouget, when going door-to-door she often heard negative comments regarding delegation applications from residents.

In an effort to address this concern council at its Dec. 13, meeting passed a motion to: “review the procedural by-law and bring back required changes together with any other suggested changes therein within a six month time frame.”

According to a report by town clerk Brenda Percy administration will be reviewing sections within the town’s procedural by-law that may require change and was therefore seeking direction of council at the May 9, meeting.

As defined in Percy’s report the purpose of a delegation is to provide an opportunity for individuals or groups to bring forward their views, concerns and issues to Council.

“Administration is seeking direction from Council on its preference of how to address the public’s request to appear before Council as delegations,” notes Percy. “Once direction has been given the Procedural By-law will be amended and procedures put in place to support Council’s direction.”

Currently, the Town of Amherstburg Procedural By-law 2008-28 states:   “Individuals wishing to be heard before Council shall advise the Clerk outlining the particulars of the matter on which they wish to address Council as well as a copy of their presentation by 4:30 the Monday, one week prior to the meeting.”

However, a delegation can be refused if they don’t “meet certain requirements.”

Pouget says that a written submission shouldn’t be a requirement of a person wishing to appear as a delegation.

However, councillor John Sutton disagreed stating that it behooves both the council and delegate to know the subject of the matter at-hand when dealing with the issue.

“I think it is important that we know the business before us,” said Sutton. “In terms of content I think it is a much needed piece of information.”

Mayor Wayne Hurst noted that having the written submission in advance provides for “expediency and consistency” and allows the “corporation to be run in an effective manner.”

Although, Sutton did suggest that the timing the town receives the submission could be looked at to see if it amended.

The town’s CAO Pam Malott says she and Percy have spoke about the timing that “allows for consideration” of a person becoming a delegate a week before the council meeting and that they are working towards bring something back to council along those lines.

Council directed administration to come back with a report on suggested time frames for submissions and how they could be received by council.

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