I attended this week in Esquimalt a second, four-hour Council orientation session with Oak Bay Councilors-Elect Pam Copley, John Herbert, Michelle Kirby, Kevin Murdock and senior staff Mark Brennan, CAO and Laranne Hilton, Municipal Clerk.
We were joined by newly elected Mayors and Councilors from all over the Region to hear workshop presenter Eli Mina, a well known Parliamentarian who consults to a wide range of bodies and authorities on legislative rules, regulations and best practices of decision-making and meeting protocols. While his presentation was largely technical, he provided a number of interesting scenarios and myths about how best to conduct meetings and to reach effective decisions at the local government level.
For an experienced Councilor such as myself, this was a great refresher and reminded me just how complex is the work of local government decision-making. Avoiding common mistakes, assumptions and pitfalls can only be achieved with knowledge-based decision-making conducted in an environment that is positive, functional and cooperative.
Mr. Mina focuses on a wide range of issues such as personal and professional conduct, rules of order, Council decorum and the importance of professionalism. He also stressed that involving the public in major decisions is vital to good governance, affirming my belief in good communication with residents at all stages of this work.
This workshop also provided an opportunity to re-connect with former and current colleagues from other municipalities, a network that I have found useful for information-sharing and learning about what other municipal leaders are doing to improve their communities and the way in which they govern.
Thank you to the Township of Esquimalt for providing the venue to bring us all together.