Huron East strikes new council advisory committee
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Huron East Council has established its new Council Public Advisory Committee to review the composition of and compensation for council, with five members of the public approved as members at council’s March 1 meeting.
Clerk Jessica Rudy presented her report at the meeting, which was held virtually via Zoom. When she prepared her report, four members of the public had applied for five positions. However, between the preparation of the meeting agenda and the March 1 meeting, a fifth person had applied, giving the municipality a full slate of members, allowing the committee to go ahead.
At the meeting, Huron East Council appointed Les Falconer, Daniel Fritz, Christie Little and Kathy Sebastian to the Council Review Public Advisory Committee, with the fifth applicant, Reegan Price, being added at the meeting after Rudy prepared her report.
The committee will:
• Review the current composition of councillors and make recommendations if changes are advised
• Solicit and obtain public comment and opinion on council compensation and composition
• Review the current composition for the 2026-2030 term of council and make recommendations for potential change
• Review of municipalities of similar size and population outside of Huron County
• Review of municipalities of similar size and population within Huron County
• Present a final report, with recommendations, to Huron East Council.
In her report, Rudy noted that the five members of the committee were required to be a Canadian citizen, 18 years of age or older, the owner or renter of property in Huron East or the spouse or partner of someone who owns or rents property in Huron East.
“As an engaged and life-long resident of this community, I would like to volunteer my time and skills to assist in the review of council structure for the 2026 term,” Little wrote in her application, which was included in the March 1 meeting agenda. “I have followed the conversation around the current structure of council and recent recommendations for change. And while I do not have an opinion or bias on the matter, I do have the desire for knowledge and contribution. I currently sit on the Huron East/Seaforth Community Development Trust, so [I] have committee experience, which has influenced my abilities with discretionary matters.”
In his application, Falconer noted his years as a Huron East councillor and as an engaged community member and resident of Tuckersmith Township when amalgamation discussions were taking place in 1999.
Fritz and Sebastian also noted their keen interest in the future of the municipality, saying that the public should have a say.
Deputy-Mayor Bob Fisher made it clear that this committee’s recommendations would be non-binding, in that council is not required to make any of the changes recommended by the committee, which Chief Administrative Officer Brad McRoberts confirmed. Furthermore, he said, the 2022-2026 term of council could choose to reverse any changes made by the current term of council or make changes the current council chose not to make.
Councillor Ray Chartrand said he was happy to see five applicants for the committee, but was a little concerned that there wasn’t representation from all five of the wards. With two from Seaforth, two from Brussels and one from Tuckersmith, he said, he wondered about the thoughts of Grey and McKillop residents being represented.
Councillor Alvin McLellan, however, said that Fritz is from the Grey ward, though commonly associated with Brussels due to his extensive volunteerism in the village, so McLellan actually felt the municipality was well represented by the five individuals who put their names forward.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with,” McLellan said.
Rudy also mentioned that, once the committee is established and begins its work, there will be significant outreach throughout the entire municipality, so any area underrepresented on the committee should be reached through that process as well for input and further commentary.
In her report, Rudy added that both she and McRoberts will be made available to assist the committee and attend its meetings, which will be held as needed, based on member availability.
The committee’s final findings and recommendations will be due by way of a report to council in June of 2022.
Council approved the composition of the new committee.