ROLLING ALONG: THE ROLE OF COUNCIL VS STAFF
Updated: Sep 16, 2022
This blog post is part of my series, Civic Citizens Series on Governance. It aims to help Grey Highlands residents learn how local government works.
This blog series includes the following posts:
This blog post explores the roles of the public, Staff and Council, as well as the mayor.
Everybody has a Role
Now, I have used that word “verses” in this blog post title, but these two roles are not against one another, but rather have (mostly) separate reasons for being.
The public has a role, obviously, but I am not here to lecture you on being a good civic citizen.
Staff run the municipality.
It is the role of the officers and employees of the municipality:
a) to implement Council’s decisions and establish administrative practices and procedures to carry out Council’s decisions;
b) to undertake research and provide advice to Council on the policies and programs of the municipality; and
c) to carry out other duties required under this or any Act and other duties assigned by the municipality.
Council provides the strategic direction, for example, Council decides that roads should be plowed between the hours of X and X, while staff plows the roads (and determines the routes, etc).
The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) is the one employee of Council.
It is the role of Council:
a) to represent the public and consider the well-being and interests of the Municipality;
b) to develop and evaluate the policies and programs of the Municipality;
c) to determine which services the Municipality provides;
d) to ensure that administrative policies, practices and procedures and controllership policies, practices and procedures are in place to implement the decisions of Council;
e) to ensure the accountability and transparency of the operations of the Municipality, including the activities of the senior management of the Municipality;
f) to maintain the financial integrity of the Municipality; and
g) to carry out the duties of Council under any Act
NOTE: The above is a simple copy and paste from the Municipal Act--meaning I haven't edited the text. This is because I think it is quite clear. Yet, one of the most misunderstood roles.
It is the role of the Mayor as the Head of Council:
a) to Act as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Municipality;
b) to preside over Council meetings so that its business can be carried out efficiently and effectively;
c) to provide leadership to Council;
d) to represent the Municipality at official functions;
e) to carry out the duties of the Head of Council under any Act;
f) uphold and promote the purposes of the Municipality;
g) promote public involvement in the Municipality's activities;
h) act as the representative of the Municipality both within and outside the municipality and promote the Municipality locally, nationally an internationally; and
i) participate in and foster activities that enhance the economic, social and environmental well-being of the Municipality and its residents.
DISCLAIMER The staff at The Municipality of Grey Highlands are experts in their respective fields. If something here is different than staff's advice, always follow staff's direction. And, then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with what I got wrong.