City Councillors from Victoria, Maple Ridge, Coquitlam, White Rock, and other BC Communities act in a mock public hearing. Lawyers periodically stop the performance to illustrate how to run effective and legal public hearings.
Any general tips on how to effectively incorporate conference learnings into day-to-day practice?
This past Wednesday to Friday, I travelled to Richmond to join Councillors Ken Christian, Donovan Cavers, and Nelly Dever at a Local Government Leadership Academy learning opportunity. We were among councillors and mayors from 24 BC communities on a crash course seminar for local government elected officials.
I now have in my possession a pretty thick binder and a large handful of notes. I am going over all this information and trying to figure out what I want to incorporate in my work as a Kamloops councillor. I would like to think about this "out loud" as much as possible in the hopes that the community might guide my thinking and my implementation of the ideas from the training. This hopefully will mean more blog posts. I detail 10 initial takeways at the end of this post.
Just to set the stage:
The seminar was held in two ballrooms at the Delta Vancouver Airport hotel. We also stayed at the hotel. I am counting a maximum of 15 sessions one could attend. Presenters included George Cuff, Gordon McIntosh, Laura Ballance, Tom Barnes, Jerry Berry, Ted Townsend, and Sandra Carter. Here is the detailed agenda:
Here are 10 inital takeaways from the seminar:
- Fiscal discipline is becoming a more top of mind issue for BC councils.
- If council votes are always unanimous, the council is not really reflecting the diversity of opinion within the community.
- Councils might want to consider proactively inviting a diversity of community groups to present to council as a delegation.
- Council members and city staff might want to discuss the "grey areas" where their roles sometime overlap.
- It might be good to have more "shirt sleeve" blue sky sessions as a council. A big question is whether to have these sessions in open or closed session.
- Evaluating personality types and working styles of city councillors might be useful in learning to work together effectively.
- Good public engagement is a product of good process based on a rich resource base of good practices.
- Local governments are in dealing a much more complex financial picture than ever before.
- Local governments may need to diversify their revenue streams away from a great reliance on property taxes.
- Good council policies can mitigate insurance risk.