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Governance review identifies new roles for councillors, administrator

Final report, decisions expected in the fall

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Council and municipal administrator Jim Godfrey have pledged to go "forward in a positive way" when it comes to his contract renewal talks in November.

The decision was made two months ago, even though an ongoing governance review could possibly change the role of the administrator.

"That was a decision that we made as a council in May and went forward with it, knowing full well that we are going through this governance review and there would perhaps be changes in the nature of his job," Councillor Gord McKeever said recently.

The administrator’s contract expires in November but it stipulates that he be given six-months notice if the contract is not renewed.

"Council clearly indicated a willingness to have a job for Jim, the top job for Jim," McKeever said.

"The contract hasn’t been finalized but the intention on both sides was a positive intention – that’s what’s gone forward."

Godfrey did not want to comment on the matter saying that discussions to date have been held during in camera meetings.

Mayor Hugh O’Reilly was also reticent to speak about the contract because it’s a personnel matter. Typically personnel issues are dealt with in private negotiations.

He did say, however, that the contract is connected in some ways to the in depth governance review which is currently underway at municipal hall.

That review examines and defines the relationship between the mayor and council and the administrator and municipal staff.

"They’re not related but in some ways they are because really we’re talking about how we want to govern ourselves and there’s a section that talks about the role of the mayor, the councillors, the CAO (Chief Administrative Officer), which Jim is," said O’Reilly.

"Initially we’ve got good agreement on the governance (model) and that we’re not making any radical changes, so I think there’s room there to continue a negotiation with Mr. Godfrey."

A four-member task force, made up of the mayor, the administrator and Councillors McKeever and Nick Davies, has been working on the review since the end of last year.

After vetting it through consultants, a draft version was presented to the rest of council on Monday for a workshop session.

The mayor said he was pleased with the workshop and the dialogue that came from the session.

"I think it’s an impressive piece of work," he said.

"I think council overall was very pleased."

There is some debate on the eventual outcome of the review.

Davies was confident that the roles of both the mayor and the municipal administrator would not change after the review.

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