Committee of the Whole Meetings
A Committee of the Whole includes all members of Council.
Council establishes committees to investigate certain matters of importance to the government unit and typically consist of a mix of citizens and Council members. These committees undertake work referred to them by Council and provide recommendations for consideration by Council and staff. A committee does not carry with it decision making powers and any recommendations from those committees must be forwarded to Council for consideration.
The Committee of the Whole operates like any ordinary committee in that recommendations are forwarded to Council for ratification but its purpose is to allow all members of Council an opportunity to engage in informal discussion on ideas and proposals which may eventually result in a recommendation to Council.
There is still a need for specialized committees to perform in-depth research on a topic or take leadership in a specific area and the City does have such committees. The difference is that the Committee of the Whole allows the entire Council to work towards a common understanding of an issue by listening and reviewing reports together in the same room at the same time. Working in a Committee of the Whole can help Council reach consensus and develop recommendations for action over a series of meetings. These meetings are where staff introduce their reports and respond to questions that Council may have on any matter and have an opportunity to participate in the deliberations. It is also an appropriate forum for public delegations and expert speakers to appear.
The primary outcome from Committee of the Whole meetings is for Council to feel they have enough information or have had enough conversation around an issue to be able to make a recommendation to Council for action. Just like other committees of Council, the Committee of the Whole does not make final decisions. That work is done in the Regular Council meeting.
Votes taken in the Committee of the Whole are related only to recommendations and to decide if issues are ready to be taken to Council. It encourages valuable discussion of the issues and provides a forum where Council and staff can bounce ideas to get feedback and create excitement about opportunities to improve programs and services.
Committee of the Whole meetings are open to the public and are held at City Hall, 200 Craig Street on the first Monday of each month and begin at 6:00 pm. If Monday is a holiday, meetings are held on the Tuesday.