New Metro Vancouver board chair Greg Moore has slimmed down the regional district’s committee structure as his first official act.
The Port Coquitlam mayor, who was acclaimed last month, pared former board chair Lois Jackson’s 15 committees down to 12.
Gone are separate Parks and Agriculture committees – they’re now merged into an Environment and Parks committee and a Regional Planning and Agriculture committee.
Eliminated altogether is a committee on policing issues, which Moore says will be handled by the Mayors’ committee, if required.
“I’ve heard from some we had quite a few committees and we could look to reduce those committees to save us money as well as staff resources,” Moore said.
He also capped the membership on each committee at a maximum of 11 directors.
Metro directors received a total of $846,000 from meeting fees in 2010.
Each director is paid $330 for every committee or board meeting they attend, and that fee doubles to $660 if a meeting runs longer than four hours.
Also eliminated is Metro’s Labour Relations Bureau, which in the past coordinated bargaining between cities and their unions, but fractured after the largest cities withdrew. Moore said the mayors committee will handle those issues until a new bargaining support agency can be formed.
One new committee is Aboriginal Affairs, although it really replaces the now-scrapped Lower Mainland Treaty Advisory Committee, which wasn’t directly under Metro’s control.
Moore has also created a Utilities committee, to be chaired by North Vancouver City Mayor Darrell Mussatto, that replaces the former Water committee and will also oversee the sewage system.
The former Waste Management committee becomes the Zero Waste committee, focused heavily on garbage reduction and Metro’s pursuit of expanded waste-to-energy plants.
Moore said he worked with board vice-chair and Vancouver Coun. Raymond Louie to come up with the more streamlined committee system and to ensure proper geographic balance among appointees.
Vancouver Coun. Heather Deal becomes the chair of the Environment and Parks committee, with Langley City Coun. Gayle Martin, the former parks chair, as vice-chair.
North Vancouver District Mayor Richard Walton, who was the board vice-chair and chairs the TransLink mayors council, becomes chair of the Finance committee, with Surrey Coun. Marvin Hunt as vice-chair.
Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts will chair the Port Cities committee and Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin chairs the Aboriginal Affairs committee.
Other committee chairs continuing in their roles include Surrey Coun. Judy Villeneuve as chair of regional culture and New Westminster Mayor Wayne Wright, who oversees housing.
Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, who contemplated challenging Moore for the chair, emerges with perhaps the most influence of any other regional politician on the board.
Besides chairing the Regional Planning and Agriculture committee (he was regional planning chair), Corrigan is now also vice-chair of the Mayors’ committee (backing up Moore) and is vice-chair of the Zero Waste committee, which is chaired by Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie.
For the full list of appointees see http://public.metrovancouver.org/boards/Documents/2012_Metro_Vancouver_Standing_Committees_and_Membership.pdf
Moore said he’s also looking for ways to better engage citizens and inform them about what Metro does.
He said discussions have begun on ways to broadcast meetings online.
“We’ve started a conversation on how we as a board look at web streaming and at how we communicate as a board,” he said.
“A lot of people see us as this other level of government that’s vague and out there.”