June 24th, 2018

County forms Committee as a Whole as compromise to councillor’s suggestion for ad-hoc policy group

By Tim Kalinowski on December 6, 2017.


tkalinowski@medicinehatnews.com
@MHNTimKal

Coun. Robin Kurpjuweit won a partial victory in his drive to form an ad-hoc policy committee, made up of three to five council members, to review, rewrite or repeal outdated county bylaws at Tuesday’s public meeting.

Kurpjuweit asked that the item be added to the agenda and energetically defended the push to include a select group of council members in the drafting and wording of new policies for the full council’s eventual review, despite a lukewarm response from some of his fellow councillors.

“As council we should be actively reviewing (these policies),” said Kurpjuweit. “We need to take an active role in saying what is the voice of this (new) council, and what is our direction. These policies would come back to the council as a whole, but (this committee) would set the direction for our team.”

Emphasizing his experience and passion for “wordsmithing” and policy-making, Kurpjuweit then volunteered himself to be one of those ad-hoc committee members.

This notion of a limited number of councillors creating policies for the entire council did not seem to sit well with several members, with Coun. Dustin Vossler being particularly opposed to council members horning in on the responsibilities of county staff in terms of policy “wordsmithing,” as Kurpjuweit had put it.

Coun. Darcy Geigle also felt the limited policy committee, as proposed by Kurpjuweit, could not be truly representative of the policy direction of the entire council.

“You have got three guys on (this proposed committee), you are going to get swayed views based on what these three guys want, basically,” said Geigle.

Geigle then put forth a compromise, based on a suggestion from CAO Doug Henderson, to do the comprehensive policy review as a Committee of the Whole, where all nine councillors would sit in on a special meeting and go over various bylaws, and make suggestions as to how to update and change various policies.

After failing to persuade his fellow council members of the merits of a more limited committee to undertake such a painstaking review in subsequent discussion, Kurpjuweit eventually agreed to Geigle’s initial proposal and amended his original motion to conduct a policy review as part of a Committee of the Whole.

Councillors then voted in favour of Kurpjuweit’s amended motion.

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