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Council attendance records released

Committees, orientation sessions and regular council meetings all part of tracking

By: Victoria Paterson

  |  Posted: Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 06:00 am

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Council’s attendance records are now on the city’s website for all to see.

The records, which cover regular council meetings, committee of the whole meetings, standing committee on finance meetings and council’s assigned internal and external committee meetings, track attendance from after the election until the end of March.

Some councillors were pleased while others were ambivalent about their attendance records being online.

“I like the fact that we’re posting our attendance records online,” said Coun. Tim Osborne.

“I don’t know if anybody will read it, but people that do will find it interesting I think,” said Coun. Cathy Heron.

“I really don’t have an opinion about it,” said Coun. Sheena Hughes.

The attendance records are up thanks to a motion from Coun. Wes Brodhead, who took over former councillor Len Bracko’s notice of motion after the election.

“The community needs to understand that the councillors are engaged in the work they were elected to do,” Brodhead said.

So what do the numbers show? Not a single councillor has missed a regular council meeting yet, or a standing committee on finance meeting.

That said, some of them have had to leave early on occasion but that is not reflected on the attendance records.

When it comes to committee of the whole sessions, as well as strategic planning sessions and orientation, the majority of council continues a strong attendance record.

Brodhead missed a strategic planning session due to vacation.

Hughes missed two orientation sessions. A vacation kept her away from a committee of the whole meeting with MLAs.

She noted when it came to orientation sessions, council was not consulted in terms of their availability.

MacKay did not attend any of the orientation sessions, a strategic planning session and a committee of the whole meeting on growth planning.

He said he’d taken a month off of work during the election and needed to catch up in the aftermath. He said when it comes to some of the committee of the whole meetings – like the orientation session in January on items like utility models and the municipal planning commission – he had no interest in attending meetings where he thinks people are trying to push an agenda opposite to his own.

“I’m not going to show up to get sand-bagged,” he said.

Coun. Gilles Prefontaine missed one council orientation session.

Mayor Nolan Crouse, Heron and Councillor Osborne all have perfect attendance records for those kinds of meetings.

Council’s internal and external committee attendance is also available and while the mayor and Brodhead have both managed perfect attendance, no one else has quite managed that feat.

However, some of council’s “absences” from committee meetings are due to conflicts with other city business.

When it comes to absence due to conflicts, Heron and Osborne have missed one – the only one either’s missed – while Hughes has missed three due to conflicts, and MacKay and Prefontaine have all missed one apiece for the same reason.

Hughes has missed three for other reasons, MacKay seven and Prefontaine three.

MacKay noted some of his absences are for agenda committee, which he said takes place just before council meetings and aren’t crucial.

Some councillors pointed out some members are juggling other jobs with their council role.

“Life gets in the way. All of us are faced with the fact that we are part-time,” said Prefontaine. Councillors are all part-time, while the mayor is full-time.

“What’s not on the attendance record is some of the other activities,” said Brodhead, a comment echoed by nearly all of his colleagues. They pointed out they attend everything from meetings with residents to community events to open houses.

The mayor said he was pleased to see the attendance being posted publicly.

“The reason that this was brought forward by Len Bracko at the end of last term was reasons of concern over attendance when we’re assigned,” he said. “I think the individuals who … have been appointed have an obligation to attend those things they’re appointed to because they’ve put those down as being an interest.”

Council’s full attendance records can be found online at www.stalbert.ca/council-attendance-tracking.


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