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RFD- 3362 Business Items   Item #   10. c.    
Regular Council Meeting Agenda
Meeting Date: 07/16/2018  
Title:    Spruce Grove Specialized Transit Service Management Board of Directors - Board Member Appointments - Wolanski
Department: Community & Protective Services  
Strategic Vision Element: Where People Choose to Live - A dynamic city with an exceptional quality of life Related Goal: Spruce Grove is an easy and convenient City to get around in, with a high degree of ease of mobility for transportation, walkability and connectivity.

Information
Request for Decision Summary
The purpose of this agenda item is to update Council on the current status of the Specialized Transit Service Management Board and to appoint three (3) new board members as an interim solution to maintaining operations while the collective planning and implementation of the Tri-Municipal Regional Transit Plan occurs.
 
Proposed Motion
That the following positions from City Administration be appointed to the Specialized Transit Service Management Board for a term ending December 31, 2020:
 
General Manager of Community and Protective Services,
Director of FCSS and Social Planning, and
Transit Specialist.

Background/Analysis

Spruce Grove Specialized Transit Service (STS) is operated by a Council-appointed management board that has been providing services for over 24 years. The role of the STS Board is to manage and operate a door-to-door shared ride transportation service for seniors (55+) and persons with mobility challenges within the City of Spruce Grove and defined limits of Parkland County.

In April 2017 after receiving notice of retirement of a long-term key staff member and a number of founding board members, STS provided a letter to administration expressing their intent to dissolve the Board and turn over all operations to the City. The Articles of Association clarify that the Board cannot dissolve on its own. Members can resign from the Board; however the decision to allow for dissolution lies with Council.

Administration did not support the request as there was no time for consideration of options to be fully vetted and discussed. Council did not grant the request but rather passed a motion directing administration to work with the Board with the aim of continuing as outlined in the Articles of Association and Memorandum of Agreement.

Since that time, administration has continued to work closely with the Board to support a key staffing transition, recruitment of new board members, and advice and effort hours on change management with respect to employment standards and legislative requirements including obtaining legal opinion on their behalf.

Current Status
The STS Articles of Association under Part 9 of the Companies Act allows for a minimum of five and a maximum of fifteen voting members appointed by Council and that at least one voting member shall be a Council member. Due to a number of recent resignations, the current number of voting board members is down to three, including the Council representative. Ongoing recruitment and retention efforts have been and remain challenging within the following contexts:

  • With sudden changeover in long-term key staff and board members, internal issues have been identified that require updating in terms of general operations and administrative policies and procedures to safeguard alignment with legislative requirements and best practices. The changes required are supported by legal opinion obtained by the City on behalf of STS. The changes require operational knowledge and change management strategies beyond what would normally be expected of volunteer community members without a strong and sustainable framework of support to step into.
 
  • Timing and rollout of the Tri-Municipal Regional Transit Plan recommending the exploration and amalgamation of multilevel transit services has caused uncertainty for the future role of the STS Board; therefore, the commitment and effort required to see the work through as outlined in point one is difficult from a volunteer perspective. Plans around governance need to be explored via formation of the Inter-municipal Collaboration Committee on transit that will further define terms of overall governance, financial, and operational organization in order to create a regional based transit operation inclusive of all levels of transit while minimizing impacts on staff, drivers, and service delivery. This will take time.
 
  • Volunteer board recruitment in general is challenging as the current trend is toward short-term opportunities such as events and activities rather than long-term governance and management roles. There is currently no framework or sustainable resource for standardized volunteer coordination or development in our community targeting sectors outside of a recreation focus.
Options/Alternatives

Subsequent to discussions with legal counsel regarding viable options, the interim plan is to have key City staff appointed as voting board members until such time as the Inter-municipal Collaboration Committee is able to convene and formulate recommendations relating to governance.
 
These appointments will allow the City to support the current operational and change management needs for STS. Once a transition plan is in place, the City will be in a position to directly support implementation of the plan, including transitioning of operations to the new governance entity (once determined), dealing with disbursement of assets and liabilities, and subsequent dissolution of the current Board as an entity.
 
The process for dissolution will require Council approval and will be dependent upon Council supporting the overall plan and transition in the context of regionalized transit.

As per the Articles of Association, board members are appointed to either a two or three year term and are eligible for reappointment. There is no limit on the number of years a voting member may serve. The terms for staff appointments are being proposed effective immediately ending on December 31, 2020. Although final solutions are expected to be in place before then, the term end date is being proposed to avoid the need to come back to Council for reappointments.
 
Legal counsel advises there are no restrictions or conflicts relating to the proposed board appointments, and no addendums to the Articles of Association are required.

Consultation/Engagement
Administration has and continues to have ongoing detailed discussions with the STS Board and staff on all matters relating to regionalization of transit. STS was extensively involved in the engagement process for the development of the Tri-Municipal Regional Transit Plan and has been provided with ongoing updates as to the status. Administration continues to have discussions with the Town of Stony Plain and Parkland County, and the Inter-municipal Collaboration Committee is proceeding. The current remaining STS board members have been consulted with respect to the above plan and are supportive. As mentioned, legal counsel has been sought as necessary.
 
Implementation/Communication
Implementation will be dependent upon Inter-municipal Collaboration Committee recommendations. Decisions and progress will require Council support and approval at various stages.
Impacts
Successful management, planning, and implementation will ensure efficient use of resources while maintaining and improving service levels for the City of Spruce Grove and Tri-Region.
Attachments
No file(s) attached.

City Council and Committee of the Whole agendas and minutes are posted on the City of Spruce Grove website for information purposes only. These agendas may be changed at the discretion of Council by the addition or deletion of items. Anyone reviewing the draft agenda should do so on the understanding that it is subject to change by Council.

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Audio from the most recent City Council and Committee of the Whole meetings are available via podcast on the City of Spruce Grove website.



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