The city’s former finance and audit committee is opening its doors to public input.
The committee is now called the standing committee on finance. The changes were made Monday night when council approved a new bylaw governing its work.
“Given the significant overhaul to the now-standing committee on finance, there is a recommendation to actually rescind the former bylaw and replace with [this] one,” said city chief financial officer Dean Screpnek, referring to the bylaw presented to the city for approval Monday.
The new bylaw will also better define the role and authority of the committee, with consideration of issues related to insurance and risk management now under its purview. It also gives the group formal power to direct administration to undertake reviews and reports related to city financial matters.
It will also see the committee stay away from user fee reviews, which are now directly considered by council.
On March 1, city council turned down the proposed bylaw changes because of a recommendation made by Coun. James Burrows to allow two public-at-large members to join the committee. Some councillors said they did not agree with Burrows’ idea, with Coun. Roger Lemieux saying the information would be too complex for the public to grasp.
Under both the old and new bylaws, the committee is made up of all seven members of council, with members of administration available to provide reports and advice. Recommendations from the standing committee on finance are later taken to city council for final approval.
Coun. Lorie Garritty said he supported the new bylaw on Monday night, adding that it would make the committee more accessible to the public and allow for more input on their decisions.
“We have had the public sit in from time to time, but this will allow them to comment,” he said. “I think it’s important to have public input.”
Council also voted unanimously to accept the year-end financial review for 2009 and the auditor’s report presented to the former finance and audit committee last week.