June 23rd, 2024

City of Lethbridge looking for a few good people

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on June 25, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

The City of Lethbridge wants you! Specifically to fill spots on its boards, committees and commissions.
“The BCC program has undergone an overhaul since 2019. In the summer of that year, the city clerk’s office heard from council, the open and effective government committee and various BCCs about enhancements that could be made” to address some matters, Legislative Services Manager Ryan Westerson told the Governance Standing Policy committee of Lethbridge city council Thursday.
Those matters included a lack of a diverse applicant base for BCC membership, non-existent BCC input into the selection process, skill and knowledge gaps in various BCCs, overlapping membership terms and continuity issues and non-targeted recruitment campaigns, Westerson said.
Through the summer and fall of 2019, the City Clerk’s office made recommendations to address those matters and to better support the BCC program. They included an introduction of a BCC specific skills matrix, a blind recruitment campaign and the inclusion of the BCC chairs in the selection and interview process, he said.
That blind recruitment campaign included the removal of all personal identification information from BCC applications for consideration by the review panel which was to remove any intentional or unintentional bias and to increase the reliance on merit, such as skills, education and experience for decisions on interviewing and appointing a BCC member.
Later in 2019, a governance review highlighted the need for BCCs to mature and suggested several actions to help in that process. Those included the introduction of a skills matrix, diverse recruitment and advertising processes, including the chair in the selection process of new members, strengthened orientation and training operations, and other actions.
Because of the impact of COVID-19, many processes and plans put in place to continue the development of the BCC program were put on hold.
In the past two years, the City Clerk’s office has worked to continue the job it started in 2019 and has now started work on implementing more enhancements to the BCC program, a report submitted to the SPC showed.
Council is also encouraging an increase in applicants “with a broad and diverse base of qualifications, experiences and viewpoints to their BCCs,” said the report.
There have been successes including a record number of applicants in 2020 -126 for 26 vacancies and a year-to-date increase in applications for vacancies of 25 per cent.
Westerson told the SPC councillors can participate on various BCCs with some appointed to them.
Councillors are encouraged to promote the BCC program and its recruitment campaign by inviting people to apply for the varied vacancies. Council members are being provided this year with a tool kit to be used when speaking to the community about openings on BCC. A similar version is being developed and will be available on Lethbridge.ca/BCC for the public to use, Westerson said.
Stephanie Parsonage, Legislative Services assistant, said people wanting to apply for a BCC will have to do so one at a time.
She said a review of the skills matrix will be done on an annual basis to “maintain consistency with the needs of each BCC. Working with our communications department, we’ve been able to develop a QR code that will bring the users to the City of Lethbridge BCC main page,” Parsonage added.
A recruitment video contains people from council and various committees, she said.
That video presented to the SPC showed the mayor, several councillors and BCC members talking about the benefits of involvement and helping the community.
The mayor said on the video “I think it’s the absolutely best thing that you could do, to be a part of your community. Bring your ideas, your thoughts: that helps council make decisions for the future.”
He said in the video BCCs have an impact on the community – “different ideas, different thoughts and suggestions coming from the committee make it much easier for council to make a decision.”
Councillor John Middleton-Hope in the video stated “boards, committees and commissions are an opportunity for members of our city to become actively involved” in the community.
Acting mayor Belinda Crowson states “they are vital for the democracy of our community and for bringing forward ideas. If we have our BCCs set up in the right way, they represent the diversity of our community. They give residents the opportunity to participate in their local government. They bring ideas forward to council…and they have time to really go in depth on the issues,” she said.
Heart of Our City chair Lorien Johansen said “I’ve lived in the downtown and I’ve played in the downtown and being part of the HOC has given me a way to give that experience to the next generation.”
The City has numerous boards and committees for residents to consider applying for. They include standing committees, special purpose committees, ad hoc committees, joint committees, and external committees.
A full list can be viewed at lethbridge.ca

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