| Oct 15, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - October 16, 2009 Central Frontenac CouncilBy Jeff Green

Central Frontenac Council tries a new format

Central Frontenac Council held their first Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday October 13 in Sharbot Lake, and then held a council meeting early in the evening.

All council meetings are now being held in Sharbot Lake.

The Committee of the Whole meetings are split into four sections, and at the first meeting each month, Public Works and Waste Management (chaired by Councilor Jeff Matson) and Fire and Emergency Services (chaired by Councilor John Purdon) are set for discussion.

The discussion of public works and waste management was rather broad.

Councilor Norm Guntensperger suggested that a small shelter be put up at waste sites for items that still work but are no longer wanted by their owners.

Mayor Janet Gutowski and Councilor John Purdon both said it is more complicated than it would appear for a re-use centre to be set up at a waste site.

PUBLIC WORKS – Rain, rain, rain has led to complaints from residents about potholes on roads. With sun coming later this week, Public Works Manager Mike Richardson said that grading would be taking place on many of the gravel roads.

In response to a question from Councilor Bill Snyder, it was revealed that brush cutting never got done in the summer. “Dead in the water is what I've heard about the vehicle we had for brush cutting. I will make a recommendation about a new vehicle for next year’s budget,” said Mike Richardson.

Richardson also brought up Council's decision to not allow any employee to take a township vehicle home at the end of the working day. “That raises a problem for me, particularly in terms of winter maintenance when people are on call. Without changing the policy I would like to be able to send people home, at my request, to be available for work in the most efficient manner.”

“Would that be between November 15 and April 15?” asked Councilor Frances Smith.

“Yes,” replied Mike Richardson.

“We need to ensure,” said Mayor Janet Gutowski “that there is some sort of record of vehicles going home to ensure they are not seen to be used for personal use. Our policy was very liberal in the past, and people called us about it.”

“We had a change in policy, not too long ago, because of gross abuses - people taking vehicles to Toronto, to the liquor store; spouses driving vehicles. We need some sort of blend, to be clear that non-official use is not to be tolerated,” added Deputy Mayor Gary Smith.

“I've already assigned one person to take a vehicle home tonight to check ice on the road at 4:00 in the morning. I just wanted council to know that the policy does not meet with the needs,” said Richardson.

It was agreed that for now Richardson could use his discretion in assigning vehicles to be taken home by employees and council would consider revising the policy at a later date.

Supervisory Position Not To Be Filled – Mike Richardson reported that he does not think it is necessary to fill the operations supervisor position. Instead, he feels the job can be handled by the construction supervisor and himself.

He also said he would prefer to keep an internal person dealing with operations, especially in terms of winter maintenance, rather than hiring a new person. Steve Reynolds, who is currently the construction manager, will handle the operations duties through the winter, and the matter can be reconsidered in the spring.

FIRE AND EMERGENCY SERVICES –A lease has now been signed with Ockham Communications regarding the Piccadilly Tower, which will provide communications service for the fire department and high speed internet to the public,

Activity report – Fire Chief Mark MacDonald presented an Activities Summary report for September.

It noted 150 total person hours, including 5 fire calls, 3 alarm calls, 3 complaint investigations, 3 medical assists, 3 vehicle assists, and 4 items listed as “other assistance”.

Councilor Norm Guntensperger said, “I would like to see more detail in the monthly activity reports. I had been hoping that by having a monthly report from the Fire Chief to the Committee Of The Whole we could have more opportunity to oversee the operations of the fire department.”

“I don't want to see us micromanage the fire department. This is exactly the kind of report I would like to see. We have a part-time fire chief and I don't think we should shoulder him with more than is reasonable,” said Councilor Frances Smith.

Deputy Mayor Gary Smith expressed interest in receiving the minutes from fire department meetings, but Fire Chief MacDonald said department meetings often concern themselves with sensitive personnel matters.

Council came to a consensus that they would like to see more about the department’s ongoing goals and issues during the monthly committee meetings, and it was left to the fire chief to develop that kind of information package. 

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