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Citizens’ Assembly on council size nears conclusion

Citizens-AssemblyThe two dozen citizens of the Prince Edward County Citizens’ Assembly are poised to make a recommendation on the appropriate size of County council.

The assembly is to meet for the third time this Saturday following meetings July 27 and August 10. The final meeting is expected to culminate in the assembly putting forward a recommendation that could lead to changes in the size and shape of local government in the County.

“The assembly members have been working very hard,” said Dr. Jonathan Rose, who was chosen by council earlier this spring to put together an innovative approach to resolving local governance issues. “The members’ level of commitment is impressive – we’ve had only one absence throughout this process. We have been throwing a lot at them over the last couple of Saturdays and they have really taken hold of the process now.”

The issue the panel is being asked to examine focuses on: How many municipal councillors should represent the citizens of Prince Edward County?

“There are, however, some big challenges at the heart of that question, particularly the need to ensure democratic principles are respected while still keeping an eye on the history and traditions of local government in the County,” said Rose.

“I am really impressed with how engaged the assembly members are with this question,” said mayor Peter Mertens. “This is not an easy issue. Council has been wrestling with it for some time. I am encouraged by the level of commitment here and look forward to what they have to say.”

Six councillors also participated in a Round Table at the August 10 session, speaking and answering questions.

The Prince Edward County Citizens’ Assembly comprises 23 members  – 12 men and 11 women. Assembly members were randomly chosen from an initial pool of 5,000 County residents.

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