On Monday night, one of our Council Committee’s had over 100 people in the gallery. 

Since that evening, we have reflected on what their experience might have been like and whether they left the meeting not understanding the committee’s process, their decision or how to stay engaged.

A letter I received from one of the attendees today certainly confirmed our fear.

Council has 6 committees.  Four of them meet at least 10 times a year while the other two meet 4 to 6 times a year.  Then there are at least 2 Council meetings each month, 10 months of the year.  Do the math.  There are a lot of meetings. Agendas are usually packed so there is also a lot of business done at each meeting.  So we tend to put our heads down, roll up our sleeves and get to work. 

In our haste to get down to business, we can leave members of the public scratching their heads wondering what actually went down.

Whether it is one person in the gallery or 100, Monday night was an important reminder that we can do better – in the moment – to make our meetings more understandable and accessible, to ensure people know who’s who (e.g. committee chair and members, visiting Councillors and staff) and what decision was made by the committee.



About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

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