Since the Regional Chair holds an extremely important leadership role in Niagara, and now that we have appointed a Chair, I believe it’s time to start the process n
Mayor Dave's Top View
About "Dave Augustyn"
Dave Augustyn is the Mayor of the Town of Pelham and is a Niagara Regional Councillor. His political career began December 2006. Mayor Dave chairs Budget Review Committee and co-chairs the Region's Corporate Services Standing Committee. He also chairs the Smarter Niagara Steering Committee, and the Development Charges Task Force, and the the PenWest Power Corporation Board. Mayor Dave also co-coaches a Pelham Soccer Team and is a member of the Children's Liturgy Team at St. Ann's Church. He lives in Fenwick with his wife, Carol, and their two children.
As a general rule, your Town Council meets at 6:30 PM on the first and third Mondays of each month in the Council Chambers in Town Hall. If one of our regular meetings falls on a holiday Monday (like Labour Day), we meet on the Tuesday.
Council is formal; it’s where we undertake the official business of the “Corporation of the Town of Pelham.” We advance the Town’s business through motions and a Procedural Bylaw provides order for our discussions. At Council, we make resolutions and enact bylaws – for budgeting, taxation, administration, and enforcement. We set policy, approve legal agreements, present awards, receive delegations, and act on official correspondence. We also receive minutes of the Town’s various committees and ratify the decisions of the Committee of the Whole and Policy & Priorities Committee.
COW and P&P:
Immediately following our Town Council meetings, we hold either a “Committee of the Whole” meeting (affectionately termed COW) or a “Policy & Priorities” Committee meeting (P&P).
The COW meetings are less formal and tend to be much more detailed oriented. We receive monthly updates from each of the Town’s departments – corporate services (including finance, IT, HR), public works (including roads, water/waste water, cemeteries, facilities), fire and bylaw services, planning and development services (including the building department), recreation, culture & wellness (including parks), and administration (including clerks and chief administrative officer). Councillors not only discuss the reports, but we also raise, discuss, and work on issues directly from the community or as recommended by staff.
The Ontario Municipal Act states that one of the roles of a local Council is to “to develop and evaluate the policies and programs of the municipality”; we specifically use the monthly Policy & Priorities meeting for this purpose. For example, over the last couple of years, Council has reviewed the Town’s human resources policies (including the establishment of a formal performance management system), financial policies (including a new procurement policy and bylaw), and are currently working our way through health and safety and public works policies. And, as other priorities arise, we can deal with them during this committee meeting.
Both Council and Committees require “quorum” – at least a majority (four) of seven members – to legally function and make decisions. Each member of Council, including the Mayor, gets one vote. If the majority of members at the meeting support a motion, it is “Approved” or “Carried.” If not, the motion is “Lost” or “Defeated.” In the case of a tie vote, the motion is defeated.
I hope that this information helps you to understand the workings of your Council. Next time I’ll write about Open and Closed meetings.
Old Pelham Town Hall
1 December 2014
Councillor Rybiak, Councillor King, Councillor Durley, Councillor Papp, Councillor Accursi, and Councillor Junkin;
Regional Councillor Baty;
Former Mayors and Members of Pelham Town Council and other Special Guests;
Members of Staff;
Ladies & Gentleman.
I am both humbled and honored to stand here, before you, again, and continue my service as your Mayor & Regional Councillor for our Town of Pelham.
First, I want to publicly congratulate each member of Council on declaring our official oath of office for our 2014-2018 term.
The community has placed considerable trust in each of us to govern our Town faithfully, impartially, and to the best of our knowledge and ability.
I look forward to serving with each of you, and to working together with you on your ideas, your passions, and your dreams for our community so that, together, we might continue to improve our Town.
Second, we gather this evening in the newly, revitalized Old Pelham Town Hall.
Constructed in the summer of 1888, she was officially opened December 15, and called “New Town Hall.” She has served the residents of our Township and our Town for 126 years.
With a breath of new life today, she stands as a living link to our forebears and as a symbol of their optimism for the future of (what was then termed) our “progressive” community. May Old Pelham Town Hall continue to serve as a community facility for public meetings, concerts, parties, and the like for many, many decades to come.
Ladies & gentlemen, our recent democratic election highlighted a huge interest in the future of our Town.
It is clear that you and your friends and neighbours are interested in workable solutions to the issues and challenges that face our community. It is also clear that you have an optimism for the future of our Town; and that you want your Council to work together with you to continue to improve our community.
As a result, your Council and I will concentrate on some key areas and will:
- Work diligently to develop and build a new multi-faceted community centre, contingent on funding and tax-payer affordability.
- Work with representatives from recreation user groups, youth, seniors, artists, service clubs, and the community-at-large to design a new community centre in the East Fonthill area;
- Work to secure Federal and Provincial funding and private donations to help make the capital costs for a potential new community centre affordable for local, municipal tax-payers.
- Work to ensure that new development fits well with the vision for a walkable community with vibrant downtowns and a small-town feel;
- We acknowledge that many people are concerned about the potential for new growth in our Town and with the impact that that growth might have on our “Small-Town Feel”;
- That’s why Council will work to approve design guidelines and transportation engineering standards for the East Fonthill Secondary Plan area;
- We will also endeavor to approve such standards across all developable and re-developable areas in the Town;
- Restart the East Fenwick Secondary Plan process to ensure that any new development integrates smoothly into existing community characteristics;
- Develop an “active transportation” master plan – a framework for further walkable / cycle-able elements – so that bike and walking trails, and sidewalks can further link more parts of the Town.
- Keep acting in partnership with businesses and residents to revitalize Pelham’s downtowns:
- Work to improve events and festivals – like Summerfest, Winterfest, (Founder’s Day?) – that showcase Pelham’s downtowns;
- Continue to promote and fund the “Community Improvement Plan” facade and residential incentives and review / improve as needed;
- Continue to work with the Province and the Region to allow a renewal of Downtown Ridgeville.
- Continue to facilitate the construction of new medical facilities and the recruitment and retention of family doctors;
- Continue to ensure that our infrastructure and facilities are well managed and maintained; (Begins with completing road and other works in progress);
- Work together with the Chamber of Commerce and the Pelham Business Association and others to better provide an environment for economic prosperity;
- Work in partnership with the Pelham Library Board to ensure service at a renewed Maple Acre Library and that our libraries are resilient to societal and technological changes;
- Work with Town Staff to ensure that the Town provides exceptional service to all residents and businesses;
- Continue to work together with the hundreds of volunteers who make our community a richer, more vibrant place to live, work and grow;
- Continue to manage your money wisely and keep you involved in how your taxes are being invested in the community.
- Always listen to you, and work in collaboration with you and your friends and neighbours to improve our Town;
- And, in general, we will serve you – as best we can – on each of the other issues both known and unknown that will affect you and your neighbours and friends.
Friends and neighbours, we realize this is a long list.
Rest assured, however, that Council and I are ready to act, ready to find workable solutions, and ready to serve in your best interests.
Council and I are ready to keep working together to build a better future for our Town – the Town that we each love and cherish.
We will work together to get closer to our common vision – that Pelham becomes the most vibrant, creative, and caring community in Niagara.
Thank you, Ladies & Gentleman, for your encouragement by being present here this evening and for showing your interest in the future of our Town.
Let’s get going and let’s keep working together!
In organizing this event, may I now offer my thanks to:
- James Carnegie, piper, for piping Council into the hall;
- Branch 613 Army Cadets for acting as our colour guard;
- Ann Mantini-Celima, for beautifully singing the National Anthem;
- Rev. Dr. Diane Walker, for offering a wonderful and fitting Invocation;
- David Braun, violinist, for sharing his gift of music;
- Nancy Bozzato, Clerk, for officiating the meeting and ensuring a smooth agenda;
- Kim Holland, Facilites Staff, for leading the beautiful renovation and revitalization of Old Pelham Town Hall;
- Martha Toscher, EA to Mayor & CAO, for ensuring the Hall looked amazing and arranging all other aspects of the hospitality and the event!
On behalf of Council, I offer deep appreciation!
While Niagara Region Staff will host sessions to help orientate new (and returning) Councillors this week, the members of the newly elected Regional Council won’t officially convene until Thursday, December 11 at 10:00 AM.
After the Regional Clerk officially administers the “Declaration of Office” for our 30 members, the first “order of business” will be the election of a Chair.
Candidates from Council Only:
In the first phase of the election, the Regional Clerk will ask for nominations for candidates; only Regional Councillors can run as a candidate to become Chair. Following nominations, each candidate will have a chance to speak for five minutes.
While the Municipal Act does allow the election of any qualified elector from Niagara to be nominated and elected Chair, the precedent from the last seven elections and the policy from two resolutions from Regional Council (in 1991 and again in 2013) means that Council elects a Chair from the recently elected members of Council.
Run-Off Election & Secret Ballot:
If two or more candidates run for Chair, the Clerk will oversee the “run-off” election (like used in political leadership contests). For example, if after the first ballot, no candidate receives a majority of the votes – 16 – then the candidate with the fewest votes will be removed from consideration, and Councillors will vote on another ballot. The voting continues until one candidate receives a majority.
Interestingly, while the Municipal Act allows for the option of secret or open ballots, Niagara Regional Council stipulates that the vote for Regional Chair “shall” be a secret vote.
Filling the Vacancy:
Following their election as Chair, the person must “give up” his or her seat – creating a vacancy on Council. How is that seat filled? Regional Council follows the advice of the local City or Town Council: the options include a by-election, appointing the next candidate in the last general election, appointing another qualified elector. In the case of filling the Chair’s seat, precedent has been to appoint the next candidate.
Opening Up the Election:
The Regional Chair holds an extremely important role in Niagara. Not only does she or he set the legislative and economic agenda and preside over Regional Council, the Chair also advocates for all of Niagara with Provincial, Federal, and other Governments.
Despite policies and precedents that preclude a direct election for Regional Chair, the process should be as open and transparent as possible. I applaud Niagara’s eight local Chambers of Commerce, local newspapers, and TV Cogeco for organizing a public debate of candidates for Chair on December 3. I hope that this effort begins the discussion about who we should elect as Niagara’s Regional Chair for the 2014-18 term of Council.
You may provide your ideas and feedback to Mayor Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org or read past columns at www.pelhammayordave.blogspot.com.
As a result of the municipal election on October 27, our new Council will be very similar to our current Council; myself and five Councillors – Gary Accursi, John Durley, Catherine King, Peter Papp, and Richard Rybiak – were re-elected and will return. Only one new person – Marvin Junkin – was newly elected, so it will be important to include his ideas and efforts into the new Council.
Since it helps to know each other socially as we work together closely on your behalf, we will gather together for a breakfast this week. Then, as is a tradition in Pelham, Council will meet socially with Department Heads at a dinner prior to Christmas as well as have a chance to participate in the Staff Christmas Party in mid-December.
But, predominately, the transition will include much work. Councillors-Elect will participate in an Orientation Session on November 24 to learn about the role of Council, meeting protocols, conflict of interest requirements, Council’s code of conduct, the Town’s accessibility standards, and our budget process and overview.
Your new Council will officially make our “Declaration of Office” at our Inaugural Meeting on Monday, December 1 from 6:30 PM at Old Pelham Town Hall, Ridgeville. Not only will this special meeting officially begin our public service of your Council, it will also be the first event in the newly revitalized facility. All are welcome, so please join us!
On December 3 your new Council will work together to develop a Strategic Plan for the Town. We will use this opportunity to not only focus Council on key strategic goals for the next four years (and beyond), but we will also include information, opinions, and ideas from the recent election.
On Monday, December 8 at 6:30 PM in the Council Chambers, your new Council wants to hear from you directly with ideas and suggestions about what we should include or not include in the 2015 Town Budget and future budgets. All are welcome to this Public Meeting. (You can also provide a written submission to email@example.com or at Town Hall.)
So that your new Council better understands its fiduciary responsibilities, we will learn about the Town’s insurance coverage, and receive a legal briefing and a human resources overview on December 10.
We will hold our first full Council & Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting on December 15. Our Committee meeting will include presentations by department directors and a discussion of our 2015 Water & Waste Water budgets.
This is an exciting time! I look forward to working together with our new Council and our community to continue to improve our Town.