Beyond Politics: How Government Works

5 Wednesday evenings, beginning September 18, 2019. 7 ~ 9 pm.

Cost: $65

This course has been months in the making, and the organizers are confident it will increase the public’s knowledge of the municipal procedure. This course will steer away from politics entirely, providing the opportunity to learn what goes on behind the scenes away from the media coverage and council table.

Five lectures beginning Wednesday, Sept. 18th will focus on diverse topics pertaining to municipal affairs. The series will feature Diane Smithson , CAO in Carleton Place, and Cindy Halcrow, Clerk Administrator, the Township of Drummond/North Elmsley, speaking on “who does what”, the responsibilities of various levels of government from provincial to county and municipality, and how those services are delivered. Forbes Symon, Director of Development and Protective Services in Perth, with discuss the process of town planning, the formulation and implementation of developments. Mr. Symon will also present a lecture on the roles of councillors, staff, committees and consultants, where they meld, and where they diverge. Trisa McConkey, Treasurer for Carleton Place, will discuss financial planning, and budgets, how they are set and monitored.

Finally, there will be a panel discussion by a small group of councillors, past and present, on the effect that this position has on them personally. This will be a moderated discussion: the choice to run for office, the importance of a policy statement, the monetary cost, the toll it takes on family, and the after effects of winning and losing an election.


  1. Government Structures (Diane Smithson)
  2. Municipal Finance 101 (TrisaMcConkey)
  3. Roles in Local Government (Forbes Symon)
  4. Beyond Politics: Planning (Forbes Symon)


Recommended reading: Citizen Guide to Land-Use Planning

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