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Options for council size discussions on table in November

A discussion on council size will be held at Shire Hall in November.
At last night’s council meeting, councillors voted to hold a special meeting in November to discuss options on a public consultation on the matter.

A facilitator may be retained to present both the existing and selected alternative governance models to the public, obtain and analyze public input and report back to Council with a recommendation no later than February 28, 2013.

The meeting in November will review the results of the 2008 Composition of Council Committee and new governance models put forward by that Committee. Council will also select a preferred governance model from the new models identified by the Committee using the elimination method of voting which is carried out in rounds.
After each round of voting the governance model with the fewest votes is eliminated and a new round of voting is done with the remaining models until one model receives 50 per cent  plus one votes, with that model being identified as Council’s selected governance model.

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  1. m york says:

    I too agree with Mark’s comments. Today on my daily dealings lol i had an opportunity to speak with a gentlemen who summed this all up (size of council) and his words of wisdom kind of made me chuckle so i thought that i would share it.
    Since our newly elected CAO has been given all the power by council members and has obviously chosen to do just that. Then why ISN’T he doing the same thing with the issue on the size of council. He likes to cut at any cost so why isn’t he cutting the size of council??? A truly interesting suggestion….

  2. Barry & Don says:

    According to Mark’s reply, we agree with some of the comments. We think that the towships should be left alone and eliminate towns and villages, which would make 7 voting areas + 1 mayor = 8. So we need one ballot for the County ( one vote for a councillor for each township ) This should save money for the County. Therefore each councillor should feel responsible for every voter. Also each councillor must live in the township, they are running in, because he/she should know the area and the taxpayer/citizen. At present time, councillors can run anywhere in the County, But if voters own more than one piece of property, in different townships, they are only allowed to vote in one, which is their principal residence, which means no representation in the other.

  3. m york says:

    You are so correct Mark in your comments and for the Mayor to publicly say everyone is happier now only leads me to believe he hasn’t spoken to anyone directly. Mr Mayor as i have once asked you before i challenge you to come out and speak with the people so you can hear first hand what to he** is going on. Instead of wearing your rose colored glasses and saying “I know” is nothing but a lie on your part.
    On another note why is the town water dirty AGAIN????? Went for supper downtown last night and even the restaraunt had dirty water, does this have anything to do with the changes that are for the better?

  4. Mark says:

    That is correct. Nothing to date has given me a sense of confidence. The financial situation has worsened and the infrastructure situation has worsened under their watch. I am not on a first name basis as you appear to be. The improved process, preparation and presentation to advise that we are in a financial crisis does not build confidence. The infrastructure is crumbling. Staff morale is very low. I do not believe the culture at Shire Hall has changed. Prince Edward County is not viewed as a desirable place to land for the experienced professional. You need look no farther than the fairly recent exodus of senior staff at the first opportunity to get out. And it isn’t because of the money it’s culture.

  5. Gary Mooney says:

    Mark, you say that nothing about the two continuing commissioners make you feel confident. Have you not paid attention to the budget process / preparation / presentation over the past few years?

    Prior to the hiring of Susan Turnbull (Comm. of Corporate Services and Finance) and James Hepburn (Treasurer), the budget process was a disaster — no other word for it.

    Susan and James have restructured the whole process, including the information made available to Councillors ahd the public. In particular, they have addressed issues that were being ignored (e.g. rebuilding reserves).

    As someone with decades of involvement in corporate financial management, I had little confidence in the County’s financial management under the previous commissioner, but have lots of confidence now.

  6. Mark says:

    I am not certain that 6 senior management positions have been eliminated over and above the 2 commissioners. With the redeployment and new positions advertised we need a flow chart to see past the smoke. Some speak of the high qualifications of the two remaining commissioners.I prefer to base that proclamation on results. Nothing to date would make me feel confident. They have been here what 4 perhaps 5 years. The County is a multi million dollar corporation not a training ground for people sitting in $100,000 + positions. Time will tell.

  7. m york says:

    Gary, Of those senior positions you are speaking about they have been re-deployeed to other positions and i believe one has been let go but due to a county error sort of speak we ended up paing four-fold for their mistake.So what you read isn’t necessarily accurate, its called smoke and mirrors mngt. style. In the depts that did take the cuts those mngt. positions went unchanged.

  8. m york says:

    One will see???? And the roads dept. isn’t being touched unsure of the reason behind this, they have always been the shovel leaners that you hear everyone complaining about. Sorry crew these are not my words. How much do we pay the County workers who waters the flowers in the roads dept. i wonder?

  9. Gary Mooney says:

    I just read the news release on the lastest phase of restructuring — a net reduction of 7 positions for a total of 15 including the previously announced reductions. Seems like I overstated the total percentage reduction in expenses as a percentage of the total tax levy — it will be 6% overall, not 10%. Still pretty good though.

  10. Gary Mooney says:

    m york, it appears that you have forgotten that County government restructuring did start at the top with the elimination of 2 of the 4 commissioner positions (a 50% cut) plus six other relatively senior positions. The total annual savings of $1.2 million will be about 5% of the total tax levy.

    Now there are some additional positions being eliminated among the remainder of the staff — perhaps saving another 5%. Reducing expenses by 10% of the total tax levy is impressive and can be compared favourably to downsizing initiatives in the private sector.

    The Mayor, the CAO, the two remaining commissioners and the treasurer are relatively new in their positions and did NOT create the County’s financial problems. Those problems were created by previous Councils and earlier senior staff. What we have now is a senior management team that is highly qualified and committed to putting the County on a sound financial footing.

    This restructuring is mostly Merlin’s Dewing (pun intended), facilitated by the Mayor and with Council approval at each stage. Personally, I’m feeling pretty confident that things WILL be better going forward.

  11. Marnie says:

    M. York, I believe it has often been observed that our county has a bloated staff. To be fair, this may also be said of many government agencies. I think it is called empire building. By cutting some jobs, Mr. Dewing is trimming the fat. I don’t see how he can be critized for this. I recognize that some changes need to be made at the top but maybe the realization that staff cuts are required is a step in this direction. Taxpayers cannot afford to keep paying for more and more staff if fewer people can do an efficient job. It seems that we complain if county workmen are spotted leaning on their shovels or if a work party of three is sent to do what one man could readily manage. Then when cuts are made there are complaints about job losses. Mr. Dewing is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t when you consider this.

  12. m york says:

    Marnie, No one has ever said they are exempt from the unemployment line and yes they did need to do an overhaul but when they keep the same mngt. in their positions with the attitude that NOW things will be better is absolutely absured. Lets be honest here if you dare?? If there is continous problems whether it be financial or structural those issues don’t lie with the workers at the bottom they stem from the immediate top and this is with any organization. So therefore how would ANYONE even consider this to be an end all to the serious problems this County has been undertaking for some time now. My daughter went to this meeting this morning and when Mr. Dewing said, “Things will be a lot better now” due to these cuts is the most amusing thing I have ever heard. And before you ask NO, my daughter did not get a lay off notice. We still have the same mngt. people in place who have been DIRECTLY the decision makers that have cost us the most financially so all i ask is how is this going to fix the County’s issues???? There is a huge difference in $100,00 paycheck and a $30,00 paycheck one would have to agree on this. Yes times are tough everywhere and things need to be changed but why do they continously scratch from the bottom when they havn’t fixed the top thats all that I’m saying. And no i am not brow beating Mr Dewing i am just questioning his decisions as it seems to ME things are being done ass backwards but this is my opinion and everyone has their opinions on the matter.

  13. Marnie says:

    People lose their jobs every day, M. York. It’s not that uncommon any more. Why do you feel that county workers should be exempt from this unfortunate fact of life? It’s not a happy situation but most of them will find other employment. Some no doubt will leave with generous severance packages,which is more than can be said for a lot of others in the work force who get the axe.

  14. DEE says:

    What jobs were lost may I ask ?

  15. Mark says:

    Nick says on council size only.So the old township boundaries are off limits? Amalgamation right or wrong was to remove the small township interests. We need an open slate of potential councillors to vote on at large, probably around 8. Not representing a former township but the County. Let all voters elect the best that choose to run. They all influence the taxpayer/citizen directly so how about equal representation for an equal vote.

  16. m york says:

    Nick, And what no comment on all the individuals whom lost their jobs today ????? Something council gave the CAO full power to hire,fire, promote and demote as he see’s fit…. Its just a matter of time before mistakes are made at a huge cost to the taxpayers, oops its already started hasn’t it?????

  17. Gary Mooney says:

    Uh, Phil, shouldn’t you be congratulating Council on seeing the light rather than slagging them?

  18. Phil says:

    It’s about time the insecure members of council did something that the “voters” of the county asked them to do.
    We can accept this small step as a beginning.
    Now it is up to everyone who wants change and voted for it, to go to the meeting(s) and demand the changes we told these fools we wanted !!!
    Lets line up down the street and give it to the councillors who think they know better than 80% of actual voters.

  19. Nick Nowitski, Ameliasburgh Councillor says:

    At last night’s Council meeting, Councillors voted to hold a special meeting in November to discuss options regarding a public consultation on the matter of Council size only.

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