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Summerside mayor still has discretion when it comes to committee appointments

Mya Stewart listens to grandfather Mayor Basil Stewart explain the significance of the Chain of Office.
Mya Stewart listens to grandfather, Summerside Mayor Basil Stewart, explain the significance of the chain of office on Dec. 3. -File

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - Summerside city councillors will hit the ground running after the recent formation of a number of committees.

At the Dec. 3 swearing-in ceremony, incoming mayor Basil Stewart appointed councillors to serve as chair and vice-chair for each committee.

“As far as I know, everyone was pleased with their appointments,” said Stewart on Thursday.

“With provincial and federal levels of government there are committees, as well as in different organizations and groups in the city. I’m a firm believer in committees.”

He said each councillor can sit on any committee.

“It will allow for councillors to be in the know about what’s going on in the city.”

He said with any newly elected government there are bound to be some changes.

“We’re not going to turn everything on (its head), but things will be tweaked. We want to move all departments forward. There may be some policies that five, or even 10 years ago, might be out of date. And I’m just saying might.”

Stewart would not say whether the formation of the committees would mean the end to committee-of-council meetings or the governance, policy and strategy committee, which is responsible for reviewing bylaws and policies. He also did not say whether the new committees would function as standing committees like in the past.

“We’re looking at a lot of things to keep council informed,” he said.

He also wouldn’t confirm changes to the current meeting structure and times they would be held, but said the times would be convenient for the councillors as well as “John Q. Public.”

Under the new Municipal Government Act, the power of mayors to select committee chairs on their own will be limited. Those executive teams must now be picked from a council advisory committee consisting of the mayor, two members of council and the chief administrative officer, who will advise in a non-voting capacity.

The province gave all municipalities until Dec. 22 to get this done, but the deadline has been extended by six months.

Wayne MacKinnon with the provincial Department of Communities said if there is a bylaw currently in place, it is within the power of the mayor to appoint committees and groups without the need for a vote.

“If there is a policy in existence that indicates the mayor can make these appointments without a vote, then it’s in his power to do so.”

City of Summerside chief administrative officer Bob Ashley said council passed a procedures bylaw, which is mandated by the Municipal Government Act.

“(The procedures bylaw) still affords the mayor some discretionary options with committees, including appointments,” said Ashley.

The first regular monthly council meeting is scheduled for Dec. 17.

millicent.mckay@journalpioneer.com

Related: Mayor-elect Philip Brown says he's fine with Charlottetown council limiting his powers

Committee chairs and vice-chairs:

Economic Development

  • Chairman Brian McFeely
  • Vice-chairman Justin Doiron

Human Resources, Legal and Culture

  • Chairwoman Carrie Adams
  • Vice-chairman Bruce MacDougall

Community Services and Recreation

  • Chairman Cory Snow
  • Vice-chairwoman Carrie Adams

Electrical

  • Chairman Greg Campbell
  • Vice-chairwoman Norma McColeman

Technical Services

  • Chairman Justin Doiron
  • Vice-chairwoman Barb Ramsay

Municipal Services

  • Chairman Bruce MacDougall
  • Vice-chairman Cory Snow

Police, Fire and Emergency Planning

  • Chairwoman Barb Ramsay
  • Vice-chairman Greg Campbell

Finance

  • Chairwoman Norma McColeman
  • Vice-chairman Brian McFeely

Policy and Bylaw Review

  • Chairwoman Carrie Adams
  • Vice-chairman Justin Doiron and Vice-chairwoman Norma McColeman

Planning Board

  • Chairman Brian McFeely
  • Vice-chairwomen Barb Ramsay and Carrie Adams

Representative to the P.E.I. Federation of Municipalities

  • Mayor Basil Stewart

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