Post #2 The “Weak Mayor” System – A continuation of what it is and why it’s important to understand it in local governance
In Post #1, I referenced the legislative role of a mayor as primarily being one-of-equals. It’s an important distinction to understand on many levels. It is a council as a whole that makes policy, sets budgets and oversees administration.
A mayor does have some extra legislative responsibilities that are mainly procedural in nature. In general, these additional powers are to (i) set agendas, oversee meetings and monitor the order/conduct of debates, discussion and public input (ii) liaise with staff and provide general direction re the will of council (iii) provide leadership in emergency situations (iv) create, where needed or desired, Standing Committees and (v) potentially bring agenda items back for reconsideration by council.
Note that Standing Committees are a specific type of committee under legislation. Salmon Arm doesn’t really have any of them. We do have internal city committees (Agricultural, Environmental etc) as well as a range of appointments to external groups.
One further note: The role of members of council appointed to outside committees varies. On some committees, council appointees are voting members. On others, the role is of a non-voting liaison to that external body and acting as a representative to & from council. It varies.ernal committees (Salmon Arm DIA, EcDev, Chamber, regional library etc). All of these appointments are by the decision of council as a whole with the mayor being “one-of-equals” in the process. As a further example, city representation to the CSRD, one of our most important external relationships, is based on the decision of council as a whole.
There’s also an intriguing aspect to these relationships. Does an appointee to an external committee speak to and eventually vote (where applicable) according to their own positions on matters or, if there are differences, best reflect the consensus of the elected council? More on that in posts a bit down the line!