After attending two of the 3 Heritage Advisory Committee (HAC for short, makes a nice acronym although it perhaps needs a K on the end) meetings that have been held this year, and fully intending on attending the 3rd and final meeting in November (unless it gets cancelled) I was perterbed that the comittee cancelled both its October and December meetings because of conflicts with other meetings.
The following is an inquiry I filed over a week ago with the chair of the town’s Heritage Advisory Committee:
As the Chair of the Heritage Advisory Comittee I am writing you to voice my concern regarding the recent rescheduling of HAC meetings.
As you already brought to my attention there was no meeting of HAC on October 3rd due to a conflict with a Strategic Plan public planning meeting.
This meeting was “postponed” to November 14th.
Now I understand there is discussion that there may be no meeting in December due to a conflict with a Budget meeting.
The intent is to “move” this meeting to January 16th.
From my perspective these meetings aren’t “moved” or “rescheduled” they are simply struck.
By my count if there is no meeting of HAC in December then the comittee will have only met for 3 out of 12 months (June, July & September) limiting both the ability for the committee to gather and attend to the business at hand, as well as the opportunity for members of the public to attend or delegate.
Both the Strategic Plan public planning meeting as well as this Special Budget meeting were scheduled long after the Heritage Advisory comittee meeting dates were set so I am curious to know how is it acceptable to the committee members that its meetings be displaced, now twice, to accommodate scheduling conflicts the town’s administration “regrettably” has brought upon itself.
It took a week to get a response, in which Clr. Humfryes informed me that she has followed up with the CAO and town clerk and has a commitment (whatever that means) that the
“administration will do their best to ensure no future conflicts occur…..however, unfortuntately at times this may not be avoidable.”
Fortune certainly has not shone on the HAC in 2011, and it makes me pause to wonder what is the “best” that the town’s administrative staff can do considering they have already displaced 2 meetings due to scheduling conflicts that could have been avoided, but weren’t.
I was pleased that Clr. Humfreys has investigated this issue and shares my concerns, even if it took a week.
I was even more impressed that included in her response a work-around to the December meeting, that it will be held in January seeing as the H.A.C. doesn’t meet that month.
What I am not pleased with at all is that the accomodation seems to be all from this comittee. It is somewhat alarming to me that the C.A.O. and Town Clerk find that acceptable, and excusable due to “unexpected conflicts”.
My primary concern remains that the committee will have only met 3 out of the 12 months of the year in 2011.
Even with a “make-up” meeting spilling into 2012, by my count the committee will have met only 4 out of the 10 times.
That is less than 50%.
I remember the attendance issue being discussed at some length at council with Clr. Ballard striving to have a very rigid stance on absentism when it comes to council and committee members. How exactly would that get applied here?
meaning she has only attended 2/3rds of the meetings.
Is that sufficient attendance?
Clr. Ballard’s logic collapses under its usual rigid adherence, but that is not the point here.
If an average meeting lasts 3 hours, The comittee will have met for a total of 12 hours to attend to the town’s heritage business for an entire year.
I’m curious to know how confident the committee members are in accomplishing the business before them given how infrequently and little they actualy meet.
Regardless of the optics regarding openness and accountability, I’m wondering if it is the town’s position that after winning the Prince of Wales prize there’s not so much business that needs to be attended to in the way of Heritage in Aurora.
Never mind that we still don’t have our Museum.