The new council will have its first meeting on Tuesday, starting at 7 p.m. Most of this meeting will be taken up with the swearing-in ceremony, and determining the order of deputy mayors for the next year (each councillor takes a six-week turn). And then it will be time to get to work.
Even though we aren't official yet, we've already had a few informal meetings, which is a refreshing change in the way of doing business. On Friday we had a mock council meeting, so that those new to the world of making motions, seconding, chairing part of the meeting, and the other formalities of doing council work could get a taste of the process. It's the first time in my experience that we've done such a thing, and I think it will help. Much better than having to have your first meeting experience under the harsh lights of the camera.
Even so, I know that the first meeting or two can be nerve-wracking. If I were to offer one piece of advice to the councillor newcomers, it would be to practice your oath of office, a few times, out loud, in front of other people. There are a couple of tricky spots in there. Ingrid still has fond memories of my first council meeting, when another councillor, faced with the word pecuniary for the first time, pronounced it puke-enary. It's probably her favourite memory from my time on council - she laughs every time we talk about it.
It's evident from these preliminary gatherings that those new to council have lots of energy and ideas, and I hope that, as a council, we work to maintain that energy. The advantage of the election process is that all of us elected have spent several weeks knocking on doors, hearing directly from city residents as to what their concerns are, and we need to use that input to frame our plans for moving forward.
I think that the message sent by the electors to all of council is that they want more openness, they want more accountability, and they want more cohesiveness from council. They want council to operate as a team, recognizing that our diverse viewpoints and experiences can only make for stronger solutions. From my perspective, I get the sense that everyone around the council table wants this too. I'm hoping that we can maintain our focus as we set our priorities and move forward.
And if we start to slip, I'm hoping that people will let us know.
"It's the pack that gets the job done, not the lone wolf." - Mike O'Neil