Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Council Time - Sept 16 to Oct 15, 2008
One of the questions that I get asked about city council pretty frequently is: "How much time does it take to serve on council?"
It's a tough question to answer but I had started to make what I thought would be regular postings on the topic back this spring. Well, as things come and go I forgot to keep up with it until this great post from Leslie in Peace River reminded me that it's a question people might be interested in.
As I said back when I first posted on the topic; it's difficult to say exactly how much time being on council takes. That's mainly because it depends on how much the individual council member chooses to put in to the job. You can attend information sessions or conferences to learn about new ideas that you can bring back to the council table or you can choose not to. You can attend at community events, either as the official council rep who brings greetings or just to talk to different groups of people to see what is happening with different sectors of the community .... or you can choose not to.
As I also mentioned before you can't choose to ignore is reading. There is a lot of reading; background information and agendas are a part of practically every city meeting but this is still difficult to capture. For example "Did I spend a couple hours reading those agendas for the up coming week or was it only 15 minutes this time around?" One of the other things I find I'm doing more and more often is researching ideas and best practices from other places, again that time is tough to measure.
Now, as I've said it's tough to measure everything so please; take this only as a rough estimate of things that I have physically attended at. Some things may have taken slightly less or slightly more time. Also, I'm not including; time spent reading agendas, doing research, travelling to and from meetings or answering resident's phone calls & emails. Those add up too but again they are really tough to measure. So, if you think I might be overstating how much time something took or that the amount of time spent isn't really all that onerous please keep these "unmeasureables" in mind - they add up.
For reference my previous posts on the topic are:
Oct 15th to Nov 15th, 2007
Nov 16th to Dec 15th, 2007
And here is Sept 16th to Oct 15th, 2008: