Each year in December MCMC's Annual General Meeting is held. The requirements of an AGM are set out in MCMC's rules and in the Victorian Associations incorporation Act 1981. MCMC's rules require ordinary business of the AGM is to include:
- Approval of the minutes of the last AGM
- Receive reports from the Office-bearers and Public Officer
- Election of new Office-bearers and appoint members to the Committee of Management
- Receive and consider the statement of Annual General meeting.
In addition it has been practice to present an auditors report on the financial management of the organisation at each AGM.
Other (special) business may also be transacted at an AGM or at a Special General Meeting providing due notice has been given. In practice the only special business which has been dealt with at an AGM or SGM is changes to MCMC's rules. These meetings are also attended by MCMC's Manager, Creeklands Manager and Catchment Manager, and all staff are invited as guests (but no staff have the right to vote).
Every 3 months MCMC's Committee of Management meets. These meetings are the major policy formation forum. Meetings are attended by representatives of the member groups, and occasionally, with permission of the meeting, by observers. Each Council has 2 representatives (ideally one Councillor and one Council Officer) or may nominate substitutes. Friends of Merri Creek has 6 representatives, each of whom may be replaced by someone from a panel of 6 nominated substitutes. No staff may vote. This structure leads in practice to roughly equal numbers of community and Council representatives being present, very important so that the community remains empowered by the group. The meetings are also attended by the Manager, Creeklands Manager, Catchment Manager and the Admin Officer, who takes the minutes (view sample minutes) and prepares the agendas (view sample agenda).
MCMC has one permanent sub-committee, the Executive Subcommittee, and 4 other standing sub-committees, as follows:
- Planning and Issues Subcommittee
- Merri Creek and Environs Strategy Implementation Subcommittee
- Finance Subcommittee
- Parkland Management Subcommittee (currently not active)
The terms of reference and membership of these subcommittees is set out in a document which may be amended from time to time by the Committee of Management.
A copy of the Minutes of all of these subcommittees and the Committeee of Management is kept, together with all of the other information mailed out with the minutes in lever arch folders, and form an important part of MCMC's archive. The official copy of the minutes of the subcommittee and Committee of Management meetings should be signed by the chair of the meeting at which the minutes are approved.
MCMC's AGM, Committee of Management, and Policy and Issues Subcommittee meet after working hours so as to make it easier for Councillors and community representatives to attend. The MCESI, Finance, Executive and Parkland Management subcommittees meet during office hours to make it easier for Council Officers to attend. The meetings generally last 1-3 hours.
The meetings are largely driven by reports and recommendations from staff, although members are given the opportunity to report and make recommendations. Only member group representatives can move motions. It would be desireable to have more active involvement of members in raising issues and recommending solutions. Some members have indicated that there are too many subcommittees. These matters are being addressed through MCMC's External Review, which may lead to major changes in the Committee structure and the way meetings are run.
Of relevance in considering the running of these meetings is the judgement of Justice Street in the case of Bennetts v. Board of Fire Commissioners of NSW (1967) 87 WN(NSW) 307, the implications of which are that for MCMC meetings, representatives must consider MCMC objectives more highly than the objectives of the organisations they are representing. As a result, some mechanism for polling the member organisation's views on important matters is needed.
A range of regular staff meetings are held. Full staff meetings are held every quarter. Indoor staff meet for an hour every Monday morning. Parkland Management Team staff meet once a fortnight. Catchment Program staff meet once a week, as do Managers, and the Admin team. These meetings are to exchange information, report back and set priorities. Notes are kept in a notebook kept accessible to all, and relevant notes are taken by individuals.
Three other operational meetings are required by legislation/industrial agreements:
- Occupational Health and Safety Committee meetings held quarterly to discuss health and safety incidents and recommend improvements to health and safety, (required by the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act)
- Consultative Committee meetings held monthly as a forum for communication between staff and Management and the Union (required by the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement entered into by the Union and MCMC which is to be read and interpreted in conjunction with the Victorian Local Government Award
- Classification Committee held as required to apply the definitions in the Award to position descriptions so as to determine which band is appropriate for the position (and hence the pay range in the EBA which is applicable). (Required by the Award)
Of course lots of other meetings with agency officers and/or members of the community are arranged as needed for liaison.
MCMC's offices include a kitchen which is used for small meetings (up to 7 people). Larger meetings are held at other venues. Committee of Management meetings are held at a member Council's offices. Easier access to a larger meeting room would be desirable.
Policies and procedures
MCMC maintains its policies on paper in a ring binder as a policies and procedures manual, in a format and with information provided by VCOSS. Policies are approved and amended by MCMC's Committee of Management.
Procedures are approved and amended by MCMC's Executive Subcommittee, but are prepared by or submitted by the Manager.