To the editor:
In response to the editor’s article on council functioning, I had to chuckle. It was definitely deja vu!
When I was on council, 1998 to 2002, we structured out committees exactly as he recommended. Each department — community affairs, public works, financial and so on — had a council member leader and one or two other councilors who gathered information on the issues, drafted a report which was presented at the next council meeting, discussed and generally adopted what the committee recommended, or put off for further investigation for one more meeting.
We worked with staff when necessary for more in-depth information.
This routine made for shorter council meetings, allowed for input where important from those most affected by whatever the issue was and allowed the council members to work together in smaller groups.
Why this worked so well, as I recall, was that we expected our fellow council members to trust the committees’ work and reports, and we trusted and worked well, for the most part, with the staff. With that we could emulate that sense of trust again.