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Understanding Council Committee Structures

The legal framework for Council Committees is set out in Provincial legislation. Under the Community Charter, there are two types of committees, Standing and Select.

Standing committees are established by the Mayor for matters the Mayor considers would be better dealt with by committee. At least half the members of standing committees must be Council members. Select committees are established by Council to consider or inquire into any matter and report their findings and opinions to Council. At least one member of a select committee must be a member of Council.

Select committees enable Council to receive advice, ideas and feedback from persons other than Council members and staff. The work of committees typically aligns with Council’s strategic plan. Unless decision-making authority has been delegated to a committee by bylaw, committees function solely as advisory bodies that provide advice and recommendations to Council.

After a review of the Watson report, Core Services Review report and the operational needs of the organization, City staff recommended Council adopt a new committee structure with the following objectives:

  • Create efficiencies and improved integration
  • Reduce staff time spent on committee work
  • Better meet the needs of Council
  • Reduce costs to taxpayers

Council’s Select Committees for 2016 are:

  • Finance and Audit Committee - includes all members of Council
  • Design Advisory Panel (DAP)
  • Grants Advisory Committee (GAC)
  • Nanaimo Culture, Heritage and Social Planning Committee (CHSP)
  • Nanaimo Youth Advisory Council
  • Parks, Recreation and Wellness Committee (PRW)
  • Community Planning and Development Committee (CPD)
  • Public Works and Engineering Committee (PWE)
  • Public Safety Committee

The City continues to explore opportunities to improve and, moving forward, changes may occur to existing committees or new committees may be formed where a need is identified by Council or City staff. Through it all, the City is, as always, committed to serving the interests of the community.

Jane Armstrong
City Clerk, City of Nanaimo
jane.armstrong@nanaimo.ca

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Who determines committee structure?
The legal framework for Council committees is set-out in Provincial legislation through the Community Charter. There are two types of committees that can be formed, standing and select and they are covered under sections 141 and 142 of the Community Charter.

Is it true the Mayor has the sole authority to form Council committees and appoint and rescind a committee’s members?
No, the Mayor only has sole authority to form and appoint members to standing committees. Select committees are formed and members appointed by Council as a whole, by majority vote.

The authority to appoint a person under sections 141 and 142 of the Community Charter includes the authority to rescind the appointment at any time and appoint another person in their place (section 144 CC).

What is the difference between a standing committee and a select committee of Council?
A standing committee is formed by the Mayor. It is establishedfor matters the Mayor considers would be better dealt with by committee. At least half the members of a standing committee must be Council members (section 141 CC).

A select committee is formed by the whole of Council to consider or inquire into any matter and report its findings and opinions to Council. Select committees must include at least one member of Council (section 142 CC).

Who determines the composition of select committees?
Select committees are formed and their members appointed by a majority vote of the Council members present at the meeting. Each Council member, including the Mayor, has one vote (section 123 CC).

Why would Council choose to use select committees?
Select committees allow Council to receive advice, ideas and feedback from persons other Council members and staff. The use of select committees provides opportunities for residents to get involved in municipal affairs and influence public policy.

What authority do committees have?
The decisions of all committees are subject to approval by Council, except where authority has been delegated. Council may delegate certain of its power, duties and functions to a select or standing committee of Council by bylaw [section 154 (1) CC].

Related Links:

Community Charter

City of Nanaimo Committees, Commissions, Boards

Watson Governance Framework: Summary Report

Core Services Review Final Report

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