Business Items    Item #:   4. a.            
Committee of the Whole Meeting Agenda
Meeting Date: 03/16/2020  
Title: Economic Development Advisory Committee - Walker
Department: Economic & Business Development
Where People Choose to Grow a Business - A strong, diversified business centre
The City has well developed relationships with key stakeholders in the community and the region who impact the economic success of the City’s business sector.

Request for Decision Summary
Administration reviewed the statutory requirements of a council committee and has identified inconsistencies with the establishment and operation of the Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC). This report provides background information on the establishment of the existing committee, the statutory requirements for a council committee, and potential EDAC structure options for Committee’s discussion.

Proposed Motion
That the input provided on the Economic Development Advisory Committee be brought forward for Council’s consideration.
The Municipal Government Act (MGA) allows for the establishment of a “council committee” or “other body” by bylaw, and must prescribe the function and procedures of a council committee. Further:
  • 24 hours’ notice must be provided to members and the public prior to a council committee meeting;
  • the method of notice to the public must be determined by council;
  • council committees must conduct their business in public unless an agenda item falls under the exceptions to disclosure under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act; and
  • business of a council committee may only be conducted when quorum is present.
 In a recent review of the various boards and committees operated at the City of Spruce Grove, Administration sought legal advice to clarify what constitutes a ‘council committee’.  It was suggested that a ‘council committee’ is one that is delegated by Council to perform a council function under section 201 of the MGA. These functions include developing and evaluating the policies and programs of the municipality, in other words, are legislative and policy-oriented in nature.

Any committee within the City should therefore be considered a council committee, regardless of the manner in which it was established, if any of the following conditions are met:
  • A member of Council is appointed or assigned to the committee, voting or otherwise. Council representation on the committee suggests that the function of the committee is legislative or policy-oriented.
  • If any council functions have been delegated by Council to the committee, even if a council member has not been appointed to the committee.
The Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) was established by Council resolution in 2010 as one of the recommendations set out in “Partnerships for Prosperity – Spruce Grove’s Economic Development Strategy 2010-2020.” Operating under a terms of reference approved by Council, EDAC was intended to provide recommendations and advice to City Council and Administration on the development and implementation of the economic development strategy and the general encouragement of business and economic development in Spruce Grove. With members of Administration and three members of council sitting on this committee, and advice being provided directly to Administration, it circumvents both the Council governance process and the authority afforded to the City Manager.
Although EDAC was established as a committee of Council, the function, tasks, and conduct of the EDAC have operated more as an administrative advisory committee.
Committee of the Whole is asked to discuss the following options:
  1. EDAC will operate as a council committee and its structure and operations will be revised to conform with the requirements of the Municipal Government Act;
  2. EDAC will operate as an administrative committee without Council representation under a terms of reference established by the City Manager; 
  3. EDAC will dissolve and Administration will continue to engage on a less formal basis with economic development and business stakeholders on an issue-specific basis.  
  Option 1:
Council Committee
Option 2:
Administrative Committee
Committee type EDAC will be officially established by a bylaw that sets out its mandate, composition and procedures. EDAC will be dissolved and re-established as an administrative committee. It will operate under a terms of reference established by the City Manager.
Membership Members of council
Members of the business community
Members of the public-at-large
Members of the business community
Members of the public-at-large
Members of Administration
Council’s role Council will take an active role where they will provide input into the selection of members and sit as appointed members to the committee. Committee recommendations will be submitted to Council and if approved, Council will then direct Administration to proceed with implementation.
Council will make decisions on recommendations brought forward through the Corporate Plan process.
Administration’s role Administration will provide support to the committee but limited to preparation of minutes and agenda and general procedural guidance.
Administration will contribute their knowledge and expertise and take an active role in discussions and decision making.
Scope of work and reporting The committee will be required to provide an annual work plan and the Chair will be required to provide an annual report to Council regarding the committee’s activities and progress
Administration will determine the scope of work, and provide an annual update to Council on the implementation of the Economic Development Strategy
Process for recommendations Recommendations will be brought forward to Council and, if endorsed, may be sent back to Administration for review and a report back to Council on possible impacts.  Development and presentation of recommendations would be done by the committee, not Administration. Administration will address contractual, legislative, or City standards that may impact decisions prior to making a recommendation to Council.
Public requirement Meetings will be held publicly and will be subject to Closed Session requirements under MGA & FOIP
Meetings will not be required to be public and will not be subject to Closed Session requirements
Members appointed by Members will be appointed by Council
Members will be appointed by Administration
Type of governing document and approval Bylaw will be approved by Council Terms of reference will be approved by City Manager

EDAC is presently operating under a hybrid model which involves both Council Committee and administrative committee functions.  If EDAC is to continue as a Council Committee, some changes will be needed to bring it into conformity with the Municipal Government Act.
Administration met with the three Councillors appointed to the EDAC committee on January 20th, 2020 to advise them of concerns regarding EDAC’s compliance with the requirements set out in the Municipal Government Act. It was requested that this matter be brought forward to Committee of the Whole to discuss options regarding the future of the committee.
The input provided during the proposed discussion at the Committee of the Whole will be brought forward for Council’s consideration at a regular council meeting.
If it is recommended that EDAC be established officially as a council committee, by which a bylaw to officially establish the council committee will be drafted and brought forward for Council’s consideration at a later date.
If it is recommended that EDAC be established as an administrative committee, Administration will bring forward proposed resolutions to disband this committee and adjust the 2019-2020 Internal Board Appointments schedule. Administration will also proceed with the creation of an administrative terms of reference for this committee.
As a council committee, members of Council have the opportunity to engage directly with members of the public and business stakeholders on topics of interest and importance.  However, this may raise issues of transparency and governance.  The changes to be compliant with the Municipal Government Act would require a shift in responsibilities whereby committee members develop and present recommendations to Council rather than working through Administration.  As part of governance, the Committee's mandate would not involve providing advice on implementation of the Economic Development Strategy as this is an administrative function.  
As an administrative committee, Administration would engage directly with members of the public and business stakeholders on topics of interest and importance, and incorporate input received from the committee into corporate plan submissions and departmental initiatives. Also, Administration would retain the ability to use EDAC as a sounding board and gain public perspective into implementation of the Economic Development Strategy.  EDAC would operate as it currently does, except without Council representation.  
If Council decided to go without either a Council or administrative committee, Administration would continue with less formal consultative processes to engage directly with the Greater Parkland Greater of Commerce, the City Centre Business Association (CCBA) and a range of other business and resident stakeholders.