Monthly Archives: November 2007

Our first Council Meeting of this new mandate!

Our first Council Meeting!

And I can see why people wonder about these things. A lot of procedural stuff, and really, not much discussion at all. It almost seems like discussion is not the goal at these meetings.

Oddly, having been made aware of the process resolutions must follow, I am no longer under the impression that nothing is vetted. If anything, it may be that things are discussed too much on the way here. But that discussion happens at the committee level. I have yet to take part in a committee meeting, so I really have nothing more to add to this right now.

We had a presentation on a conference attended by some commissioners and staff at the end of the last school year on bullying and violence in schools. Poignant and extraordinarily well done – I hope that the absolute focus I am trying to bring to this will result in more immediate action. The fact that this was presented at our first council meeting is indicates that we’re on the right track and its inclusion in this first meeting is very much appreciated.

I am a little concerned that the call for a sub-committee was pushed into a standing committee that isn’t going to sit until January. At this stage, I still believe that a single resolution from the Council itself can serve as the impetus to drive whatever standing committee or sub-committee we need to actually accomplish the meat of it. All we really need to do is to set the stage – and that, to my mind, doesn’t require anything more than the 19 commissioners we have sitting at council.

Finally, it also seems to me that Walter Fogel’s proposal for a standing committee on emergency preparedness was pushed aside more out of predisposition than much else. Perhaps this is something that comes up regularly – regardless, it seemed to me worthy of more than what appeared to be a block vote against.

Overall? I am still very much more impressed than not. The real action seems to come from standing committees. These are beginning… so we shall see how it goes!

Truly,

Steve

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Commissioner’s Orientation meeting

We had a Commissioner’s Orientation meeting on Wednesday, the 21st. We were presented with binders 3 inches thick – with an agenda on the first page that suggested the meeting would go from 7:30pm to at least 9:40pm.

Most of the commissioners attended, with almost all of the Directors as well as the DG and ADG and several others.

The intent of the meeting was to give us new commissioners an introduction to how the board works, and perhaps as a refresher course for the returning commissioners.

I was a little worried at first. It started with some pretty standard fare, with mission-statements and the like. Very well presented, but … not really any meat to it.

Then the Directors spoke of their departments. In two hours, I went from not knowing much at all about this place, even though it seems that for literally years I had tried to know it, to seeing some real passion and some very impressive stuff.

Real, measureable goals. Timelines. A large focus on communications. To my mind, at the end of this meeting, I wonder how many of the difficulties I have had with the board have been more an issue of communications than anything else – and it’s very interesting to see that most, if not all departments had “improve communications” at or near the tops of their lists of immediate improvements they would like to see.

I said at the end of the meeting that I was “surprised, pleased and impressed”. Really, there is a lot of good going on. Of course, there is a lot that needs to be improved – but I left that meeting with an awful lot more hope for the future of this board than I had when the meeting started.

I hope that this continues. And maybe I am just being naive, but at this stage, I think that it will – and I believe that I will be able to make a positive impact on a situation that is already better than I had hoped.

There are some people with real passion in this board. For me, that is an amazing place to start.

Truly,

Steve

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The new guy on the block…

I am the new guy on the block. I have my beliefs and I know what I want to accomplish. Having said that, I am but one commissioner in a Council of nineteen; fourteen of whom ran on a single ticket.

I have been welcomed by commissioners and administration alike, and I still believe, maybe even moreso, that we will be able to accomplish big things over the next four years.

Step one for me is to learn. To listen. To understand. Yes, there have already been things that I have begun to address. Things that I don’t think can wait, or perhaps better put, where there is no reason to wait.

Your visits to my website have grown to an average of several hundred per day, and my newsletter now has just over a couple of thousand subscribers. If we keep spreading the word, forwarding newsletters and talking to friends and family about these initiatives, our goals will be accomplished. Your efforts matter; they mattered during the election and they may matter even more now. Pass this on! And let’s get the entire school board’s electorate involved!

With your help, we will achieve more.

Truly,

Steve

Sponsor: http://www.FinditinMontreal.com

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