Modernizing And Changing The Way Council Works



NORTH BAY – Mayor Al McDonald said today that modernizing council and changing the way council works will go a long way to ensuring the next four years are spent growing North Bay rather than discussing and delaying issues and referring them to committee.

McDonald noted his frustration over the years with committee Chairs pulling items or holding items up in committee or sending items to staff without any debate or consultation among council members. “A single member of council, as a committee chair, shouldn’t have the power to hold things up.”

“Most people don’t realize the Mayor has limited powers for moving items forward. Council members can’t openly debate, the Mayor can’t comment on items at the council table, we are limited as to the questions we can ask presenters and the list goes on.” Said McDonald. “It’s frustrating. I want to move things along and the procedural bylaw gets in the way every time.”

McDonald proposes sweeping changes to the procedural bylaw, allowing council to openly debate and request information and clarification from senior staff at council meetings to reduce delays.

“If members of council are prepared for meetings, and have done their homework, then the changes I propose will mean we can get to a vote sooner.”

McDonald also said he intends to open up public presentations so more people can make their opinions known to council. “People can be intimidated by making a public presentation. Time for presentations can hold up and delay council from moving city business forward. I propose public presentations be also held on alternate Mondays with a single member of council and staff from the clerk’s office present to take minutes.”

This format will be more relaxed for presenters and this will allow more time for presentations.

This measure means all citizens can be heard and the content of their presentation will be made available to all council members in council packages. Only a single member of council will need to be present and each member of council will preside based on a rotating schedule.

“Further more, I think councillors should be given the opportunity to make member statements at the beginning of each council meeting, good news announcements, congratulatory comments, and other
noteworthy matters can be brought forward by members of council during the member statement portion of the meeting.”

“The procedural bylaw is out of date and out of step with what takes place in other cities.”

McDonald also announced today, when elected, he will set in motion the necessary steps to move North Bay to a ward system.

“I envision five wards with two councillors per ward.” Said McDonald. “Citizens should know the councillors they elect, they should be able to call specific councillors with their concerns, and they should be able to vote for candidates based on the candidates knowledge of, relationship to, and commitment for constituents in a set geographic area.”

There are 26 candidates running for council in North Bay this year.

“People have told me it’s too much.” Said McDonald. “People have said there must be a better way. I believe that better way is a ward system.”

McDonald also said a ward system means it will be easier for people to run for election. “Future candidates will only need to concern themselves with a smaller section of the community. This means less expense for a campaign and more time available for candidates to spend with constituents.”

McDonald went on to say these proposed changes will mean an end to the top three candidates automatically being selected Deputy Mayor and Budget Chief and committees Chairs.

“People holding these positions should have the confidence of the Mayor and council and should either be appointed by the Mayor or elected by their colleagues.” Said McDonald. “Councillors holding these spots should demonstrate some kind of qualifications other than vote count.”

Modernizing the way North Bay council is elected and operates, and re-writing the procedural bylaw, means we will be better positioned for growing our city and ushering in the kind of municipal expansion we need moving forward.

Growing our city is my number one priority.