United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) council is going to try meeting less often.
Currently, council meets twice a month. A Committee of the Whole meeting takes place on the second Wednesday of the month and a Regular Council Meeting takes place on the fourth Wednesday of the month. At the May 10 Committee of the Whole meeting, the eight mayors decided to try having just one Regular Council Meeting per month from August to December of 2023. A second meeting could be held each month if there are items of business which must be addressed. The second meeting would be called at the discretion of the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and Warden.
Clarence-Rockland Mayor Mario Zanth noted certain municipalities don’t have committee of the whole meetings while others have a committee of the whole component within the regular meeting.
Russell Township Mayor Pierre Leroux suggested the second meeting of the month could be held virtually, if required. He said that under the current structure, discussions and decisions often get repeated.
“Most of the time at committee of the whole, we discuss something, then we’re discussing the same subject again,” Leroux said, adding he would like to see decisions made faster.
“I’m flexible. I like the two meetings,” East Hawkesbury Mayor Robert Kirby commented. East Hawkesbury has one, regular council meeting per month.
Hawkesbury Mayor Robert Lefebvre said incorporating a committee of the whole portion into the regular council meeting has worked well in Hawkesbury.
“I would eliminate committee of the whole, switching in the meeting doesn’t make sense,” Leroux said. Wants to just go with regular council meetings.
The Nation Mayor Francis Brière said that with a single, regular meeting, items could be enacted right away or deferred.
Zanth said the consensus seemed to be to try having one meeting per month, not having committee of the whole, and having consent items on the agenda.
“I say we try it from August to December, if we don’t like it, we can go back,” he said.
Leroux said he supported what Zanth proposed.
Clerk Mélissa Cadieux said changes to the UCPR’s procedural bylaw would be necessary to permit the temporary change in meeting frequency and format.