Boring! But good to know because we voted them in and we pay them to run the district.
So, here’s how the Whanganui District Council will be structured this term.
Mayor Hamish McDouall has scrapped the portfolio system brought in last term in favour of establishing three full-council committees.
All councillors will sit on the Infrastructure and Special Projects, Property and Community Services and Strategy and Finance committees rather than have their own area of responsibility.
Mostly, items will now be debated by the relevant committee, in public meetings, before they come to council.
“The important thing around having committees is that you get a full debate and a kind of sifting of major issues before it gets to full council,’ McDouall says. “It’s a looser structure.”
He also hopes getting much of the debate done at committee level will shorten full-council meetings.
To achieve this council, will also meet more often – eleven times a year instead of six-weekly.
“The reason I’m having eleven council meetings a year is to make sure they’re very efficient business meetings.
“It makes for better decision making. There were times in which the decision making has got very, very ragged after five hours. People get tired, they get hungry and equally by that stage there’s been a helluva lot of decisions you’ve made and you might just want to end the meeting and so the decision making does not get due attention.”
McDouall says he wants the committee structure to mirror how council management is organised. It means the chairs – two of which were rivals for the mayoralty – can liaise with the relevant council officer.
Here’s Hamish McDouall on each of his full-council committees:
Infrastructure and Special Projects – chaired by Alan Taylor
“That’s things like roads, drains, but the special projects area; that’s the port, wastewater treatment, Sarjeant Gallery and velodrome.
“Alan, when he was chair of the Rural Community Boar had a role with infrastructure. Infrastructure’s a really logical for him and I think we’ve got a safe pair of hands there.”
Property and Community Services – chaired by Helen Craig
“The idea there was looking at most of the property that council owns delivers a community service. It might be parks, Virginia Lake, the crematorium or the art gallery… I suddenly realised that property should be together with community services. It seemed a logical fit.
“Helen has previously had the arts portfolio and is one of the overseers of the town centre redevelopment. I’m content that she’s the right person to oversee the delivery of community services.”
Strategy and Finance – chaired by Kate Joblin
“Planning, resource management issues, bylaws, economic development.
“Kate Joblin- obviously has a massive background in governance. Obviously, like Alan Taylor she’s new, she is very strategic.
“Even though Alan and Kate are new around the council both have vast governance experience and that was good.”
McDouall will appoint others who will work with committee chairs to lead certain projects.
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