Cut down on committees

The City of Penticton spends a lot of time on committees and task forces compared to other B.C. municipalities.

According to a staff report, Penticton City Hall hosted 14 committees in 2016, costing about 1,680 staff hours per year. That compares to Kelowna and Vernon, which have just seven committees taking up 840 staff hours in each city.

Victoria and Kamloops are closer to Penticton's range, with 13 and 12 committees taking up 1,560 and 1,440 staff hours respectively, according to Penticton city staff.

Those numbers came as city council considers which of the 14 committees to keep and which are no longer needed.

But while Victoria and Kamloops have around the same amount of committees as Penticton, they also both have nearly three times the population, meaning Penticton's per-capita number of committees and task forces dwarfs that of each of the other municipalities mentioned by staff.

Staff estimate the city's staff hours working with committees cost about $142,000, according to the presentation to council during a committee of the whole meeting.

The report to council notes that Kelowna and Kamloops have both managed to reduce the number of committees over the years.

"A community the size of Kelowna – well, what else are they doing, because they still need to reach the population," a city staffer told council.

Committees are seen as a form of community engagement, as each committee and task force is made up of community members, with staff and council working more as liaisons. Staff suggested the city look at ways of reducing the number of committees, without sacrificing the volunteered community engagement.

"In large part, Kelowna and some of the others are doing less by committee and more by components such as open houses, online engagement, et cetera," said corporate officer Dana Schmidt.

Dustin Godfrey


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