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Council pleased with mid-term progress

Prince Edward County council is pleased overall after a mid-term review of progress on priorities set early in the term.
“The Nov. 20 and 21 review identified that significant strides have been made toward achieving many of council’s objectives,” said Mayor Peter Mertens.

The following were identified as complete, or substantially complete:
– The implementation of a Corporate Communications Plan, which includes the development of a Customer Service Excellence strategy.
– The creation of a Community Development Commission that will create a Community Development Strategic Plan, as well as coordinate economic and community development activities.
– An organizational realignment that identified opportunities for efficiencies and organizational improvements within the Corporation.
– Completion of a Services Delivery Review that reaffirmed the County’s service delivery objectives are being met.
– Initiating a process to review the size of Council to ensure the voice of the public is heard and acted upon.
– Improving Business and Governance by reviewing the policies and practices affecting the way we do business.
– In addition, the municipality has made significant efforts to develop partnerships with local health care providers by initiating Age in Place discussions. These partnerships will help contribute to sustainable economic and community development within the County of Prince Edward.

“Through the 2012 budget process, council commenced a positive and incremental shift to sustainable business practices, setting the platform for a long-term financial planning model,” said Mertens. “This progress demonstrates council’s willingness to adopt innovative decision making processes, and make the necessary changes to improve business flow and financial sustainability. A renewed focus on customer service excellence is well under way and will begin to show visible improvement throughout 2013.”

Five revised priorities were confirmed for consideration and public input at the December 18 regular Council meeting:
1. Create a Strategic Plan for Community Development.
2. Adopt a long-term financial plan and policies consistent with the Strategic Plan.
3. Implement an affordable housing strategy.
4. Adopt the County’s Official Plan and Secondary Plans for Picton-Hallowell, Wellington, Rossmore, and Bloomfield, as well as consider the need for Secondary Plans for Consecon/Carrying Place.
5. Complete a review of municipal energy creation and identify conservation opportunities.

Mertens said a facilitated education component of the mid-term review provided a forum for council to identify better opportunities for team work, and improved relations between council and constituents, as well as council and staff.

“Discussion about the importance of role clarity, appropriate leadership and respectful decision making processes enhanced council and staff understanding of best practices for good governance.”

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  1. Mark says:

    Well it is nice to see Council pat itself on the back and feel really good about their rising taxes half way point. Did anyone see roads as a prioity? I suggest that as I did today they drive from Picton to Cherry Valley and upon their return drive to Waupoos and back. Two tourist destinations and the road conditions are disgraceful. Book the appointment for shocks and realignment. At some point infrastructure has to come to the table. Is there a plan for our despicable roads that once were some of the best in the Province. Little has been spent on roads for a few years and how will we afford to catch up?These are questions that need a plan prior to patting each others back.

  2. m york says:

    Louise, Never say never thats what I have learned with take overs and restructuring. Many are experiencing it right now due to the overspending/lack of knowledge and the ho hum attitude of we can do whatever we want. Its places like County Live, Newspapers and neighbours communicating that will keep them on their toes and accountable to the taxpayers. If the council/mayor wait to address these issues/concerns only at election time then I am quite sure they will not get the public’s vote again, and rightly so… Comments from the Mayor saying things are great and everyone is happy is laughable and by him expressing these words makes him look like he’s either not on the right page or he is taking someone’s word for it. Either way he’s the one in charge and he is the one that has his feet being held over the fire.

  3. Louise says:

    I give up. It is such a mess that I am afraid that no one cam straighten it out. We arepayimg interest on a gravel pit we purchased and can’t use. We have spent a fortune on a water filtration plant that had to be started twice because the first project was not correct and it is not finished yet so I understand. The sewage plant is really a laugh. Now they want to spend more money onland we do not need to put a fire hall where we do not need it–we need it on county owned land in the Industrial park. and of course last but mot least we want to ruin the front yard of the Mac Farland home with a cement condo type building.
    We have no money in the coffers. We had no reserve fund a couple of years ago . Iam told taxes will goup next year and I suppose water amd sewer will too. well maybe we would not have such a huge bill if they did. I already bring in bottled water for the dogs as I think the town water is making them sick–I suppose it would be cheaper to flush the toilet with bottled water too. You can get a lot of bottled water for 3 hundred dollars. Oh i forgot if we turn off the water we have no sewer can we put a porto pody in the back yard –probably not
    i guess those of us who live in Picton are just plainly out of luck.

  4. Mark says:

    I don’t want to turn people off either Mr.York but if you have experienced what I have experienced from Shire Hall and their unacceptable practices, I would welcome any scrutiny that could be brought upon them. That would be the taxpayer gain.

  5. m york says:

    David,Thanks for your input. I guess I will make a call on Monday and ask the professionals on the subject. Its just a shame that we don’t at least TRY to utilize who and what we have. There is a lot of knowledge out there that is being thrown away and for what, and I am sure I have ticked a few people of lately as well. But I am a taxpayer, as is everyone else and all we want is some answers to some really smelly dealings….

  6. David Norman says:

    @ m york… in regards to the CAO hiring an outside ex employee; speaking from a position of limited knowledge, being that the only information I have to form an opinion on comes from CountyLive and the three local newspapers, I have to admit that this seems poorly thought out. That being said, I have been in similar positions in my lifetime and made similar choices, sometimes to my regret. It is a lot to ask of the County’s elected council to come up with an infallible process to govern these choices and administration. I always try to look at my own abilities in this regard and readily admit that I wouldn’t measure up. I’m not at all sure of what the answers might be. In situations like this I always have the hope that some super human, brilliant, experienced folk will take hold of the reigns. But maybe even then I’d find fault. I’m trying to be as magnanimous as I’m capable here… I don’t want to piss Santa off like I did last year… just got a lump of coal in my sock and even that’s not politically correct these days.

  7. m york says:

    David, Interesting to know. The question I have as well as others is as such: If the CAO is in charge of the human resources dept., here in Picton, then in turn hires an employee (acting CAO who was DIRECTLY under him from Sioux Lookout)would this not be a conflict of interest under the municipal law or an integrity issue? I was on the County website today to read their new policy on tendering etc. and they make mention of conflict of interest so I have to wonder does this not apply to County council/Staff? Its really hard to believe that no other individual would be suitable from neighbouring municipalities. This only drives the morale of qualified employees further down not to mention goes to the unrest/trust from the taxpayers. Any information you could shed on this would be greatly appreciated.

  8. David Norman says:

    @ m york… your comments highlight aspects of a Political/Social Science course I have been developing for the University of Ontario. The course would basically provide fundamental understandings of the processes and obligations of Municipal Governments and their Bureaucracies and look at the efficacies of common practice and strategies that are most commonly employed. One of the most common of these is the practice of employing individuals from “outside” a municipality in top management positions as a strategy to placate public perception of “professionalism”, “experience” and “partisan bias” etc. The research indicates that whilst this is an accepted practice it often as not, does not result in increased acceptance and efficacy.

  9. Louise says:

    There should be fire Hall in Picton, close to Mac farland Home and hospital. The only place to put one is in the industrial park. Where does council come up with these stupid ideas?

  10. m york says:

    Gary,

    I have tried on numerous occassions to reach the Director of water/wastewater for some direction and as to date have never recieved a returned call? Will the taxpayer get to respond to Councils performanc (highly unlikely) there is just way to much unrest out there right now. The County will NOT tap into the highly skilled individuals it has here in the County to help save money as suggestions have been brought forward by many but have never been responded to. Just like this post they do not feel that they have to answer to anyone…

  11. Gary Mooney says:

    Council is patting itself on the back for having substantially completed implementation of a corporate communications plan. If this is the case, why haven’t we seen any benefits?

    I think that County communications has been, and continues to be, just plain awful — both two-way and one-way communications:

    Here are ten examples of deficiencies in communications:
    1. Council has not invited any public input of its performance in conjunction with the above-mentioned mid-term review.
    2. County government did not hold any focus groups to obtain input on communications issues / needs.
    3. About half of Council continues to resist the desire of 80% of County voters in the election referendum to review Council size.
    4. Emails to all of Council almost always go unacknowledged, and are rarely answered.
    5. When a major staff report is to be addressed by Council or Committee of the Whole, there is often little or no notice to the public (except when required by the Planning Act).
    6. When there is strong criticism of County government in the local media, there is rarely any explanation or defence from County government.
    7. In particular, when senior County staff are verbally abused in the media, either collectively or individually, County government doesn’t stick up for them.
    8. There are very few town hall meetings by Council or by individual Councillors to allow for two-way dialogue with County residents.
    9. County government is not making use of email lists and Twitter for communications purposes.
    10. County government has not established a process for tapping into the substantial expertise of County residents to find better / less expensive solutions.

    Conversely, my experience in communicating one-on-one with senior County staff has been uniformly positive — fast and complete responses to my questions and requests. The communications problem seems to be when County government is acting collectively – it just doesn’t know how to engage effectively with the public.

    In most other respects, I consider that County government is doing a good job on our behalf.

    [Whisper] It’ll be interesting to see if County government reacts, or fails to react, to this post.

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