Big Lakes County council members may soon be required to provide regular written reports for meetings and conferences they attend.
At its regular meeting April 24, council passed a motion by High Prairie East – Banana Belt Councillor Tyler Airth to direct administration to draft a policy for council reporting and reports.
The issue was raised by new CAO Jerry Gautreau when council reviewed the councillor convention and registration policy.
“I’m certainly a believer in council reports,” says Gautreau, a former councillor for the Rocky View County.
“Council reports are transparency to ratepayers.”
He adds it’s also good community relations.
“It shows residents what we’re doing,” Gautreau says.
Joussard Councillor Richard Mifflin agrees reports are good.
“Reports would be meaningful for us as councillors,” Mifflin says.
Gautreau says council members would report on board and committee meetings, they attend as council representatives and conferences and conventions they attend.
Reports would allow council members to note highlights of the meeting and pertinent information to council.
Grouard Councillor Jeff Chalifoux was reluctant to support council report saying discussing the reports would lengthen a council meeting.
“If we all have a report, it’s going to be time consuming,” Chalifoux says.
“Council members can bring up issues without an official report.”
Instead of producing regular reports, Chalifoux suggests a council member could add items to the agenda to report on issues discussed at a board or committee meeting.
Gautreau says reports could be handled in various ways to reduce time discussing the reports.
He notes the reports could vary in length.
South Sunset House – Gilwood Councillor Ann Stewart suggests council introduce an item on the agenda for roundtable discussion for council members to raise issues and concerns from board and committee meetings and conferences.
Kinuso Councillor Roberta Hunt says council reports should not focus just on concerns by council members.
“We need to report on the good things that are happening in our wards,” Hunt says.
After attending conferences, council members are required to complete an evaluation to help council to determine if the event benefits the county and continue to send representatives to the event the following year.
The evaluation added one question.
Would you recommend further involvement by the County?
Big Lakes has not included council reports as part of the regular council agenda for several years.
Many municipalities have long included council reports.
by Richard Froese
May 4, 2023
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