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Citizens’ Assembly calls for 10 councillors plus mayor

After three days of learning, discussion and deliberation, the Prince Edward County Citizens’ Assembly is recommending that the number of municipal councillors be reduced to 10 from 15, plus the mayor.

The recommendation, along with the rationale that brought the assembly to the decision is to be presented at a special committee of the whole meeting Sept. 19 and then to council on September 24.  Next steps are to be determined at that time.

“The assembly worked very hard to reach this decision,” says Dr. Jonathan Rose, the director of the assembly process. “I was incredibly impressed with the level of commitment of the assembly members. They took this process very seriously and worked very hard to deliver a recommendation that reflected the particular needs and history of the County.”

The Citizens’ Assembly, he explains, is an innovative model for helping decide questions of public interest. It is an approach designed to engage average citizens in the processes of government and provide a values-based answer to challenging issues.

County Council had been struggling with the question of Council size for more than 15 years and turned to the assembly model to help it answer a simple question: What is the appropriate size for the municipal Council?

Rose said the assembly members determined that the values of balance and fairness; effectiveness; forward thinking; greater good; openness and representation by population should shape their decision.

“We were very concerned about reaching a sweet spot,” says Drew Dick, a local carpenter and member of the assembly. “With 10 councillors plus the mayor, we felt it was important to have an uneven size of council to avoid tie votes. The vast majority of us felt strongly that council could be more effective if it was smaller.”

Councillor Robert Quaiff is hosting a meeting September 19 at the North Marysburgh Hall starting at 7pm to review the Citizens Assembly report to council on downsizing to 10 Councillors and 1 Mayor.

“I want the residents of North Marysburgh to provide direction and be directly involved in any restructuring,” he said.

Filed Under: Local News

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