We had a Council meeting last week! It was the inaugural meeting, which is mostly ceremonial, but I’m going to use this as an excuse to start playing with the blogging format stuff, in light of the weird part I wrote about in an earlier post about how I am now the de facto spokesperson for the City Council and the Police Board, so my blogged writings, as often as I may say “These are not official communications from the City,” run the risk of being read as more official than they are meant to be.
I could write caveats all day, but here’s a summary of the business that got done on November 7th.
Oaths of Office:
We read oaths are required by law. Mayor, Councilors, Police Board Chair, and Parcel Tax Roll Review Panel. That makes us official.
2022 General Local Election – Report of Election Results
The Chief Election Officer reported on the official election results, and we received the report.
Acting Mayor Appointments
New Westminster doesn’t have a Deputy Mayor position, but we do appoint an Acting Mayor in the event the mayor is on vacation or otherwise not available for official duties. We have a practice in New West of rotating all 6 Councilors through for two-month stints as Acting Mayor. I suggested spots be filled based on where council finished in the polls, lacking any other way of differentiating when folks serve, and alphabetical order being so unexciting. Council voted unanimously to approve.
Council Member Appointments to Internal and External Committees, Task Forces, Boards and Councils
We have about two dozen Advisory Committees, Task Forces, and Commissions/Boards internal and external for Council to serve. It is pretty typical for a new Council (and we have a new Mayor and 4 new Councilors) to re-jig these. However, I have suggested to Council that we not make immediate changes to the committees that exist until the new members have had a chance to get caught up on what is happening in the City, and we have a chance to sit down as a Council of 7 and do some strategic planning around our priorities for the next year and four years. Every Task Force and Committee takes a lot of time on the part of staff, Council and the public (if it is a public committee). I suggest we need to be strategic about how we get the most value out of that time before we make big changes here.
So Council unanimously agreed to keep the same structure for the short term, and appoint the Mayor and Councilors to serve as either Chairs or Council Reps on the various committees until we get a chance to meet as a Council and do that longer-term planning. If you are curious, the long list of appointments is here.
Metro Vancouver Board Appointments
We also need to appoint a person and an alternate to represent this Council at the Metro Vancouver regional board. New Westminster gets one board seat, but more seats may open up on committees at Metro depending on how the Board Chair and new Board structure committees for the term. We probably won’t know more about that until early in the New Year. Council voted to appoint me as Metro Vancouver rep, and Councilor Nakagawa as alternate.
Then I read my inaugural speech, and we all smiled for photos. Now the work begins.