Skip to content

Council gives feedback on updated procedure bylaw

After a first look at a proposed procedure bylaw, Rocky View County council provided administration with feedback that will be incorporated into a revised draft and brought back for consideration. File Photo/Rocky View Publishing

Rocky View County (RVC) council took a first look at an updated Procedure Bylaw during a regular meeting June 25, allowing councillors a chance to provide feedback before the policy is approved.

According to Municipal Clerk Charlotte Satink, the current Procedure Bylaw was adopted in 2013 and received some minor updates in 2014.

“Having a sound procedure bylaw is an integral part of efficient council meetings, and is important to the integrity of council’s operations and meeting conduct,” she said.

The bylaw would help council hold orderly and fair meetings, Satink added, and ensure a “level playing field” for anyone in attendance.

To draft the bylaw, Satink said, administration compiled comments received during a parliamentary proceedings training session in January and researched best practices from neighbouring municipalities. Administration also incorporated clearer wording into the bylaw and removed sections where the Municipal Government Act (MGA) already provides clear guidance on a topic.

One major change under the new bylaw regards the process for public hearings. Under the proposed bylaw, Satink said, administration will present an executive summary to allow council to consider first reading of bylaws before scheduling a public hearing. If first reading is approved, the hearing will then be scheduled. Currently, public hearings are scheduled before first reading.

One advantage of the new process, according to Kent Robinson, executive director of Corporate Services, is that it would allow RVC to distribute a bylaw for the public to review alongside notice of the public hearing.

Satink added comparable municipalities like Strathmore, Strathcona County and Kneehill County have adopted similar processes for their public hearings.

Another new section in the proposed bylaw would see the involvement of the reeve and deputy reeve, along with the chair and vice-chair of committees, in the development of agendas. It would also permit the reeve or the chair to direct items be removed from an agenda before it is distributed.

“The reeve and deputy reeve being able to remove agenda items – I’m a little skeptical on that one,” said Reeve Greg Boehlke, requesting additional information on the rationale behind the change.

According to Satink, the change was included at the recommendation of CAO Al Hoggan, and Grant Kaiser, executive director of Community and Business Connections, clarified it would allow the chair to move items to different meetings help balance council’s workload and keep meetings at a manageable length.

Couns. Samanntha Wright and Kim McKylor said they would support the change under strict parameters. Wright said she could support it only if it was used to keep council agendas from being overloaded, while McKylor saw room for a little more flexibility but commented, “I think the reason something gets removed needs to be clearly stated and communicated.”

The bylaw also proposes to change voting procedures to align with the MGA, Satink said, where a recorded vote is only done if specifically requested by a councillor.

“The practice of automatic recorded votes has been removed,” she said. “This section is written so that we can utilize voting on motions either with the raising of a hand, verbally or through electronic voting by an agenda management software system, which we’re hoping to be implemented later this year.”

Satink added, once implemented, an electronic voting system would only show if a motion was carried or defeated, and would not indicate how individual councillors voted.

Several other changes were proposed in the new bylaw, such as a section preventing council from accepting written submissions received after the deadline.

Council unanimously voted to refer the document back to administration. According to Satink, administration will incorporate council’s feedback and bring a revised version of the bylaw back for consideration at a future meeting.

Once approved, the bylaw will come into effect Sept. 1.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks