City Council received recommendations today from the Citizens' Assembly on Councillors' Employment and Compensation. This is the final step in the Citizens' Assembly process which providing a new community engagement opportunity to local residents.
Over a month long period, 36 randomly selected volunteer citizens have worked together with an independent consultant to review Councillors' hours and pay to provide recommendations back to Council.
"This is an important question to discuss and the Citizens' Assembly was a unique way to include the community in the conversation," says Mayor Chris Spearman. "One of Council's goals is to engage the community and that means trying new things to reach residents. I hope everyone who participated found value in the process."
After three group sessions of education and consultation, the Assembly came to a consensus on recommendations for Council. Their final report suggests Councillors' hours and pay should remain the same and provides new ideas to achieve this balance. Some of the recommendations include the use of technology and administrative or research support staff to reduce the workload on Councillors.
"The citizen assembly process exceeded my expectations as a method for City Council to engage the community and receive our feedback," says Kim Ordway a member of the Citizens' Assembly. "We were provided with numerous resources and exercises that helped each of us develop our own opinions in a comfortable environment, which informed the recommendation presented today. I am proud of the committee and believe we learned from each other and built new relationships along the way. We shared a sense of duty, heightened passion for our community and gained a new respect for the work done by our council members that will stay with us for years to come."
At the start of the process, the Assembly established core values they felt were critical to the role of a Lethbridge City Councillor. They reviewed practices of other similar municipalities and spoke with current Councillors in order to gather information.
"I want to extend my appreciation to all the members of our Citizens' Assembly," says Councillor Bridget Mearns. "They each gave up over 30 hours of their time to volunteer for this project. I am pleased to see this level of engagement from our citizens, a desire to learn and collaborate and an interest in our municipal government."
All Lethbridge residents had an opportunity to provide feedback into the Citizens' Assembly by attending a public roundtable session held on October 6, 2016. This meeting was facilitated by the Citizens' Assembly giving the opportunity for residents will learn about the progress and share their views.
The use of a Citizens' Assembly is one tool Council can use to help gather information for their decision making process. In
order to facilitate a more robust discussion on the recommendations, the report
has been referred to a future Community Issues Committee meeting. For more information on the Citizens' Assembly process and to view the final report visit www.lethbridge.ca/assembly.
Tara Grindle, Communications Consultant
Office: 403-320-3910 | Cell: 403-360-0984 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org