July 12th, 2024

Chairs swapped in city committee shuffle

By MEDICINE HAT NEWS on October 18, 2023.

A mid-term revamp of city committees sees the chair switched for two of the biggest. This undated file photo shows a city committee meeting at city hall.--NEWS FILE PHOTO


The two new heads of city council committees plan to make an impact on their portfolios following a mid-term switch of assignments announced Monday.

Coun. Shila Sharps will take over as chair of the development and infrastructure committee, while Darren Hirsch becomes head of energy, where substantial work is set for the near future.

“I’m very pleased,” said Hirsch on Tuesday of the committee where the long-term agenda includes a business review of the power plant, an “environmental road map” of city operations and several major industrial projects, namely carbon capture and hydrogen hub concepts.

Hirsch was one of only two councillors with council experience who remained following the 2021 municipal election but was relegated to minor roles during the last two years.

His new role elevates him from a member of the energy committee to the chair, which means he can lead discussions and help prioritize issues in the division that oversees the city’s utility interests and commodity business units.

“I enjoy that we own the utility and covet it. And that’s why I’m so happy that we’re doing an enterprise (business model) review. We’ll look at what we’re doing well and where we have room to improve. I suspect that next year we’ll have something to present.”

Remaining on that committee is former chair Alison Van Dyke as well as first-term councillor Sharps.

“We have such interesting divisions and perspectives around the table and mixing it up is good for the community,” said Sharps, who previously chaired the short lived “Council-Employees” relations committee – tasked with hiring a new city manager last year among several initiatives.

She said she enjoys the material at development and infrastructure, and sees the division becoming more active.

“When we tackle things differently things tend to get better … things may have moved slowly, and I won’t make excuses … but not having the (permanent city manager) in place for a year was hell. There has to be some understanding.”

The chairs of two other major standing committees – those which oversee divisions – remained in place, with Robert Dumanowski (corporate services) and Ramona Robins (public services).

A change in council’s procedure bylaw this year altered the process of council appointments made from mayor’s office to assignments determined and approved by a vote from council.

New committee assignments

Council committees

(Chair and vice-chair listed first and second, respectively.)

Administrative and legislative – Andy McGrogan, Allison Knodel, Robert Dumanowski

Audit – Darren Hirsch, Shila Sharps, Alison Van Dyke

Corporate services – Dumanowski, Cassi Hider, Knodel

Development and infrastructure – Sharps, McGrogan, Van Dyke.

Energy, land and economic development – Hirsch, Van Dyke, Sharps.

Public services – Ramona Robins, Dumanowski, Hider.

Emergency response – Linnsie Clark, Robins, Dumanowski.

Representatives on outside bodies

Civic functions – Knodel.

Community Futures-EntreCorp. – Clark

CypressView Foundation – Clark, Robins.

Chamber of Commerce – Sharps.

Highway 3 twinning – Hirsch.

Intermunicipal committee – Clark, Sharps.

Intermunicipal social planning – Van Dyke.

MH Community Housing Society – Clark

MH Stampede – McGrogan.

MH Public Library board – Robins.

Municipal Naming Committee – Hider.

Municipal Climate Leadership – Van Dyke.

Palliser Economic Partnership – Clark, Hider

Physician recruitment – Van Dyke.

Regional drainage – Van Dyke.

Shortgrass Library board – Van Dyke

Share this story:

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments