During the committee of the whole meeting on May 10, the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) council discusses altering the monthly meeting schedule. Currently, UCPR council holds one regular meeting and one committee of the whole meetings per month, but council discussed the option of only holding one meeting per month. Council discussed the merits of combining the regular and committee meetings into one meeting, or even just scrapping the committee of the whole meeting altogether and adding consent items to the regular meeting agenda. It also allowed the possibility of a second meeting to be called at the discretion of the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and Warden to discuss any urgent business that pops up.
Mayor Mario Zanth of the City of Clarence Rockland commented that the city had seen much success with combined meetings, as have several other municipalities within the UCPR. Items discussed in committee could be enacted right away instead of being deferred to the regular meeting.
Mayor Pierre Leroux of Russell said that subjects from the committee of the whole are often discussed again at the regular meetings anyway. He also suggested that the second optional meeting could be held virtually if required, to cut down on commute time for those council members that are further away from the UCPR offices. Most emergent business is dealt with in fifteen or twenty minutes at most, he said.
UCPR Clerk Mélissa Cadieux said it would take some time to enact the changes to the UCPR’s procedural bylaws to allow for changes in meeting frequency. Council ultimately decided to try out the single-meeting approach for a period of four months, from August to December.