During his first term in office as the Mayor of Elliot Lake, Dan Marchisella has presided over a council that has sometimes been fractious and he's had to deal with with a few councillors whose behaviour caused a major distraction. Several members resigned in the third year of this four-year term and were replaced.
Apparently with that in mind, the mayor was successful on Monday night in getting the council to vote unanimously for his motion that will make it mandatory for all councilors to receive job training after the municipal election on October 22. That training will ensure they are familiar with their job responsibilities, especially in the area of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
Some council members at the Monday meeting where the bylaw was passed were concerned that Mayor Marchisella tied the mandate on the do's and don'ts of their jobs to an amendment of the city's Council Renumeration By-law. Councilor Norman Mann said, "I'd rather see it in the Code of Conduct."
Councillor Ed Pearce said the training should take place during the first month after the fall municipal election. But the mayor's successful motion gives the newcomers up to six months to get up to speed on their jobs. It was noted if the training sessions scheduled locally are not convenient for everyone who gets elected, those people can attend sessions being given at other times in nearby communities.
Mayor Marchisella says other mayors in Algoma are also looking at making sure that proper training for councillors is mandatory. Failure to get training will result in loss of pay. That's why Mayor Marchisella wanted the new stricture to be tied to remuneration
Councillor Sandy Finamore who voted in favour said, "I don't think this goes far enough." She added, "As councillors we need to be responsible. If you're not in your seat, you shouldn't be on council. We need to dig deeper to find other ways to make councillors more accountable."
Mayor Marchisella told council he never wants to hear anybody on council say again, "I didn't take the course. I didn't know." He added, "There aren't a lot of rules; I want to make sure elected people understand how the rules work."