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LETTER: Citizen irked by county decision to maintain council size

The existing structure was reasonable for the original divison of duties but not for how now things currently function, says letter writer
2020-03-11 County JO-002
County of Simcoe council chambers. Jessica Owen/BarrieToday

MidlandToday welcomes letter to the editor. This letter is in reference to a story published March 24, titled, 'County eyes future plan to appoint unelected warden.' Send your letters to andrew@midlandtoday.ca

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Simcoe County Council, according to recent news items, is leaning to leave council at 32 members (i.e. the existing structure), but add a separate position of Warden.

The manner of filling the Warden’s position was deferred to an other meeting. The decision to stay at a 32-member Council, made up of the 16 townships’ mayors and deputy mayors, is not the best course of action for future governance in the opinion of this writer.

The role of County has changed. In the past the County looked after some functions while the local municipalities did others, each acting largely in its own sphere. The existing structure was reasonable for that division of duties.

However, in recent times the County has become more and more an “approving authority” which means that the County actually has to approve or deny certain decisions taken by the local councils.

With these duties it would be better to have county councillors directly elected by the general electorate.

For ease of administration, one councillor could be elected in each township and then they could carry on business by weighted voting. This would yield 16 councillors. Eliminating 15 positions on council would save some money but it is not the major reason for suggesting the reduction.

The Warden could be elected at large, but other alternatives could be considered.

While the Warden’s work load is heavy her/his powers are very limited. The system of electing/appointing the Warden is important from a campaign expense viewpoint, it is not all that critical from governance considerations due the constitutional duties of the office.

Konrad Brenner
Ramara Township

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