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East St. Paul holds inaugural meeting and gets down to business at Boot Camp

Posted: November 20, 2018

East St. Paul Council, left to right, Couns. Charles Posthumus, Orest Horechko, Mayor Shelley Hart, Couns. Carla Devlin and Brian Duval at the Nov. 13 inaugural meeting.

East St. Paul holds inaugural meeting and gets down to business

at Boot Camp


It was back to business on Nov. 13 as the new East St. Paul council was sworn in at its inaugural meeting.


Mayor Shelley Hart and Couns. Orest Horechko (Ward 2) and Charles Posthumus (Ward 4) were acclaimed in the Oct. 24 election. Incumbent Brian Duval retained his Ward 3 seat, and newcomer Carla Devlin was elected in Ward 1.


The council that will represent the municipality until October 2022 was introduced to the audience in council chambers and then sworn in by CAO Sheila Mowat.


A short agenda was completed before cake and refreshments were served.


Council jumped right to work by attending a two-day Council Boot Camp on Nov. 15 and 16, designed to define the role of elected officials and educate them on everything from what’s expected of council to the foundations of good governance. More than 60 elected officials and administrators from around the capital region attended.


The Boot Camp was hosted by the RM of West St. Paul and featured sessions by renowned author and advisor to councils, George Cuff, as well as a session on code of conduct by lawyer and City of Winnipeg Integrity Commissioner Sherri Walsh.


"I attended the two-day workshop facilitated by George Cuff when I was first elected in 2014 and it was the single most valuable learning experience for me as a new member of council,” Hart said.


"Attending again this year provided me with additional insight with the lens of four years of experience in the role. Our thanks to West St. Paul for hosting this event.” 


Cuff said if there was one main lesson he hoped mayors and councillors would take away from the Boot Camp it’s that they are elected to lead and managers are hired to manage.


"The world works a lot better if both do their own roles and try not to overlap extensively into the other person’s role,” Cuff said.


He said council’s role is not to get involved in the day-to-day operations of departments, like public works or the fire department but to establish a vision for the municipality and set budget and policies.


Though the Boot Camp took place less than one month after the municipal election, Cuff said it benefits all councillors, not just those that were elected for the first time on Oct. 24.


"My argument is that they’re all brand new. My argument is that nobody has served on the 2018-22 council before so you’ve got to consider yourself to be a brand new member and you ought to come at it with that perspective,” he said.


Walsh gave a lunchtime session on how to build an ethics and accountability framework in your municipality. She said it’s important for that to include a well-developed code of conduct and an integrity commissioner or an ethics advisor who can give advice on how council can meet its ethical obligations.


"It’s absolutely important. Everybody needs somebody to go to for advice. Ethical issues are not so obvious in terms of how to address them, so to have somebody who can give you consistent advice on a proactive basis is invaluable,” Walsh said.




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