Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Councillors have not been providing written reports despite the requirements of the Election Code.
As elected council tests out a new governance structure, political projects analyst Jill Hill said the structure includes a recommendation that councillors submit reports on their activities, which they haven’t been doing.
She said the election code requires elected officials to provide written reports and any external meetings they attend as Six Nations representatives.
If councillors aren’t comfortable with a written report, she suggested they regularly provide verbal reports at this time.
A new template was developed for councillors to use to provide the reports.
The new governance structure calls for numerous changes to the way council and staff conduct business. Currently in the test phase, the project is called Kentyohkwa (meaning ‘group’ in Mohawk), and is expected to wrap up with a final report on Dec. 16.
Committee meetings have been eliminated, leaving only general council, political liaison and finance meetings.
There is a new layout for agendas, and senior directors will be asked to provide verbal updates beginning Nov. 28.
Under the new structure, four key areas will be presented at political liaison meetings on the second Monday of the month: well-being (health), community supports and services (social), justice and education.
At the political liaison meeting on the fourth Monday of the month, the key discussion areas would be lands, economy, governance and other areas.
Directors will be asked to give verbal updates to that table in four key areas: political advocacy, community events, legislative or policy changes and high spending approvals.
“We’re trying to streamline things,” said Hill.
Another survey is also going out the week of Dec. 1 to senior staff asking about the impact of the changes. The project has been in the works since September.
SNGR said it hopes the new structure gives council more time to address community issues and focus on political advocacy.
The study was delayed due to the Covid pandemic.
Over the past few months, council has been discussing how to best implement the new structure.
Under the Kentyohkwa structure, committee meetings were temporarily put on hiatus. All items that were discussed during committees were shifted to a different council meeting to be addressed and resolved before full council.
To accommodate the increased workload, the new structure added a second political liaison meeting.
Political liaison meetings will happen on the second and fourth Monday of every month at 9 a.m.
Council says under the Kentyohkwa structure, the community’s access to elected officials will not change. The process to have an issue placed on the council agenda remains the same.
Council said the Kentyohkwa structure is not fixed and will continually evolve to best serve council and the community.
Council said it hopes that by eliminating those committees and adding the issues to political liaison meetings, it will eliminate administrative delays and allow issues to be addressed more quickly.
Committee issues have historically been brought to general council meetings for final approval. General council meetings occur on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m.
General finance meetings occur on the first and third Monday of every month at 9 a.m. and under the new structure, political liaison meetings will occur on the second and fourth Monday of every month at 9 a.m.