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Norma Felker

Advisory committee bylaw adopted

Praises were high for assistant city clerk Norma Felker

By Stephanie Waddell on November 30, 2017

Praises were high for assistant city clerk Norma Felker at Monday’s city council meeting as members passed the final reading of the new advisory committee bylaw.

Before voting in favour of third reading, both Mayor Dan Curtis and Coun. Samson Hartland highlighted “her dedication”, as Curtis described it, on the bylaw that aims to “regulate the formation and operation of advisory committees” to the city.

In his comments, Curtis noted he was pleased to hear from the Active Trails Whitehorse Association (ATWA). The group wrote to the city praising the bylaw and Felker’s work on it.

“After reviewing the initial draft, ATWA made two written submissions containing questions, comments, and suggestions for possible improvement,” the organization stated in their letter.

“After each submission, Norma Felker took some of her valuable time to meet with us to discuss our concerns.

“We cannot express how much we appreciated those opportunities. It was so nice to have someone listen to our concerns, explain the rationale as to the thinking behind some aspects of the bylaw that we had questioned, and recognize the value of a number of our suggested improvements.”

The letter goes on to state ATWA’s full support of the bylaw.

It notes the bylaw includes “an obvious effort to ensure that there will be more transparency and democracy in the way advisory committees operate, and that city committees should ‘focus on making informed and reasonable decisions in an open and transparent way and in the best interests of the community.’

“In addition, there is recognition that city committees – through various means – should encourage the input of the general public, as there is a wealth of knowledge within our community from which these committees can draw. 

“The advisory committee bylaw will be an excellent addition to our city’s bylaws.”

After all her work to come up with the bylaw, Felker brought forward the document a few weeks ago, with council then passing the first two readings.

“The bylaw also establishes the duties and standards of conduct for committee members and provides rules for control and conduct of meetings,” Felker stated in her presentation to council at that time.

“The intent is that the mandate, scope and membership criteria for existing and future committees will be examined in light of these standardized provisions and that the functionality and practicality of each committee as an advisory body is thoroughly evaluated.”

Under the bylaw, all committee meetings would be open unless they met the provisions of a section of the Municipal Act, such as personnel information, or matters under legal proceedings and the like.

With third reading passing Monday night, advisory committees will now fall under the bylaw.

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