About Municipal Councils

The Responsibilities of Mayor and Council  - as per the Handbook for Municipal Councils under the Community Charter and the Local Government Act.
By Lorena Staples, QC – Staples, McDannold and Stewart

The Mayor’s Responsibilities
There are specific statutory duties and responsibilities assigned to the office of the Mayor, in the
Mayor’s capacity of chief executive officer (CEO) of the municipality, that are additional to those of the Council and the Mayor as a member of Council, namely:
• providing leadership
• recommending bylaws, resolutions and other measures to assist in peace, order and good government of the municipality
• communicating information to council
• presiding at council meetings
• providing, on behalf of Council, general direction to municipal officers respecting implementation of Council’s policies, programs and other directions of Council
• establishing standing committees of council
• suspending municipal officers and employees
• reflecting the will of council
• carrying out other duties on behalf of council
• carrying out other duties assigned by or under the Community Charter or any other Act

The Councils Responsibilities 
The members of Council, including the Mayor, have these statutory responsibilities:
• to consider the well-being and interests of the municipality and its community
• to contribute to the development and evaluation of the policies and programs of the municipality respecting its services and other activities
• to participate in council meetings, committee meetings and meetings of other bodies to which the member is appointed
• to carry out other duties assigned by the council
• to carry out other duties assigned by or under the Community Charter or any other Act

The Mayor and Councillors have a job to do and it is a very important one. Local government is the closest government to the people. Local government provides the most basic services: water, transportation, sewage and garbage collection, fire and police protection, recreation, community services and planned communities. To do the job well, Mayor and Councillors must be dedicated to the community and have a vision for its future.
In addition to having integrity and intelligence, they must be guided by these key features of good local governance (all equally important):
• placing the community's interests ahead of one's own
• pride in the reputation of the municipal corporation
• behaving ethically and fairly
• awareness of the legal limitations of local government
• placing importance on current and relevant policy making
• respect for municipal staff and the administrative role of staff
• being a good steward of the municipality’s assets
• fair and effective bylaw administration and enforcement
• respect for the public
• abiding by provincial and federal laws affecting local government
 

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