Helps thinking outside the box to consult councillors

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps used post-it notes and easels to determine which councillors wanted to be on which committees.

Easels with post-it notes in the council chambers marked a new approach to committee appointments at city hall.

As opposed to announcing which councillors would be on which committees at the inaugural council meeting, Mayor Lisa Helps decided think outside the box in a more hands-on fashion. Helps asked each councillor that had previously served on a committee to give a brief description of the committee and the work it does, then she gave post-it notes to all councillors to write their names on and post on flip charts with the committee names on them.

“I really wanted to make it public and transparent and draw on what the councillors want to do,” said Helps. “I wanted to make sure that councillors had an opportunity to put their skills to work where they wanted to, not with what I think.”

For the majority of the committees, terms were split into two two-year terms.

On only one occasion did a secret ballot have to take place, when Coun. Chris Coleman and Coun. Ben Isitt were both interested in the first term of the Greater Victoria Labour Relations Association.

Each were given three minutes to give a campaign speech before the vote. Coun. Geoff Young was away, so the vote was tied 4-4.

Isitt then gave up the position to Coleman who already had experience on that committee.

“You could see people really paying attention and doing it in a careful and generous way,” said Helps. “It felt like a new beginning yesterday.”

Coun. Pamela Madoff said the success of the appointments demonstrated how well the council is working together.

“It’s really built on the council orientation sessions that we’ve had,” she said. “I think we’ve already become very collegial even though we’ve got a new mayor and new councillors.”

Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe said she thought there would have been more competition for some of the appointments.

“It just shows the diversity that we bring to the table,” she said.

In addition, Coun. Madoff and Coun. Ben Isitt proposed that councillors reported back on their committees at the beginning of December each year to review how the appointments are going and on the work of the committees.

“I think it’s a very good idea to touch base at the end of the term and a chance to check in and see what’s working [and] who wants to move where after having a chance to experience [the committees] for that period of time,” said Madoff.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mustard Seed Coffee Company launches online ordering, free delivery

Program proceeds assist Greater Victoria residents in need

Current Taxi offers free rides for healthcare workers to or from hospitals

Rides must stay within 20 km of Victoria General or Royal Jubilee Hospital

Canadian seniors isolated with fewer friends, less access to internet

Findings appear in assessment of health and social challenges associated with COVID-19

Advocates call safe drug supply a victory but worry about logistics in pandemic

Pandemic contributes to scarce supply, advocates worried about potential impact on the streets

Greater Victoria survey shows third of respondents did not pay, or partially paid rent for April

Survey of 70 respondents says 40 per cent expect they will not be able to pay May rent

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

75-year-old woman rescued from Cowichan Lake

Victim taken to hospital, but expected to recover

Not to become bored the game plan for COVID-19

Board game with an Island map developed by Island family just the remedy for filling time at home

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Most Read