Opinion: Reduce Ponoka town council members to five

Ponoka town council may find some improvements in town functionality by reducing its members to five

Town council should consider dropping its members to five.

In fact, council should consider revamping how it operates altogether.

In recent years council has done its utmost to make changes on the town operations and administration side of things but there seems to be some sort of invisible anchor resisting change. It’s as if whatever systemic issue is occurring is holding on tooth and nail to resist forward momentum.

There has indeed been change but whatever culture is in place among town staff, who work hard I might add, there is a definite reluctance to adjust from the “way things are done” to finding ways to improve. Council really can help drive that change but as an organization it too needs to make some adjustments.

What better way to lead by example than by dropping the members down and reevaluating how elected officials operate themselves? Council will then need to really prioritize its committee work as there will only be five to do it. I would add that those councillors should get a raise as they will have to really make some adjustments.

The way things operate right now is councillors work in committees and get a little too involved in what’s happening operationally, even if that occurs by accident. This needs to stop as it’s blurring the lines of governance and operations and slowing down the process, to a snail’s pace.

Along with the many committees already in place when council first started making changes about five years ago, there are now even more that are, admittedly, probably more important to this community than what was there. Council may do well to relinquish control of those committees and let the community members and staff work through them.

The trouble is, council has been messed up by town mishaps over and over again and they’re probably getting tired of hearing residents complain. It’s no easy job to see something mess up and then have a resident tell you in so many words how they as taxpayers can say whatever they want to an elected official because “my taxes!”

A revamp of council operations may do several things. It’ll be easier to manage council meetings. Easier for the mayor to work with a smaller group, and with less committee meetings, councillors can actually focus on moving administration forward and correcting errors as they happen.

The current format is ridiculous, a waste of everybody’s time and council is doing just as much damage to the process, and in my humble opinion, setting administration up for failure.

With each committee a councillor is on, those members then speak to the CAO and it appears they are providing direction to administration, which is most-likely responding. Along with this kind of communication, there is an action checklist that needs to be followed and reviewed at every council meeting to determine what needs to be done and what hasn’t been done.

Add to that, every time a policy comes to council there is some type of feedback and then amendments need to be made. The majority of policies proposed to council get returned for change. Making amendments takes time, reviewing policies that have already been reviewed takes time, bringing them back to council takes time. Council doesn’t seem to understand that.

Council is certainly within its right to make changes, just don’t be surprised when it takes months to come back.

Another issue is that notices of motion get added in council meetings, which adds to the already deep amount of work that staff needs to focus on. They then need to research the information from the motion and return it to council for approval. Again, within council’s right. The problem is, they don’t seem to understand what happens behind the scenes.

Reducing council to five members will force those councillors to manage their time and committees better and may end allowing administration to function normally.

If councillors are unhappy with how things are going they made need to first look at what they’re doing that may be hindering the process.

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