Happy New Year!
Well, here we are in 2013. Time is marching on so quickly that I sometimes feel as though I don’t have time to stop and catch my breath. I don’t need to remind you that municipalities have become very multifaceted and as a result municipal administrators are being pulled in many directions. There is an expectation for us to be experts in all things municipal and respond to requests and issues that arise immediately. The fact that we live in a world of immediate response and have issues and projects flying at us left and right makes it challenging to focus and easy to lose our frame of reference.
I have been in the office of President for two and a half months now and we have been focusing on some very significant issues in that time. I would like to recap some of the activities of the past two months.
Both the AMA and UNSM have been full participants in this process with SNSMR. The Working Committee has set up sub-groups to work on various aspects of the fiscal review such as non-financial supports, external pressures and regulations and revenue. Each sub-committee reports back to the main Working Group which is chaired by Marvin MacDonald and Louis Coutinho. The Fiscal Review Working Group reports to the Steering Committee which last met on January 21st.
We continue to be impressed by the quality of work and amount of support this group has been receiving from the staff of SNSMR.
This Fall the Provincial Review Panel released its report on the Regional Development Authority model. The report indicated that given the reduced funding, since the Federal Government announced that it was withdrawing its portion of funding, the status quo cannot continue and a new model must be adopted. The Panel’s report outlines how it sees the new model working
The UNSM has been facilitating meetings in this month to discuss with municipalities the go forward piece. These meetings are forums whereby municipalities can put forward their issues, concerns and suggestions. Municipalities can also forward these to the UNSM or the Province.
The Municipal Indicators Final Report was adopted by the AMA Board of Directors in December. The key project during this phase of the review was the development, consultation and review of the Financial Condition Index, a tool providing a “snapshot” view of a municipality’s financial condition. The Committee also completed the preliminary research to develop a tool for assessing municipal governance, and considered improvements to the service performance indicators and the website which hosts the program. Finally, the Committee considered the success of the FCI consultation and plans to develop additional training and outreach sessions to increase use and understanding of the program.
AMA Education Committee
The Education Committee, Chaired by Erin Beaudin is taking on number of significant projects this year. Some of these include: the review of the Certification Program and the review of its role in the NACLAA Program. It is collaborating with SNSMR and UNSM to offer some professional development opportunities. The Committee has increased its membership with the following new members: : Ray Hickey, Town of Parrsboro, Warren Olsen, Municipality of Richmond, Chrystal Remme, District of West Hants and Louis Coutinho, Town of Windsor
Municipal Elections Act
On November 23rd, the AMA and SNSMR held a debriefing session for returning officers of the 2012 Municipal Election. It gave an opportunity for RO’s to discuss issues relating to the election process. Approximately 40 people attended the session which was facilitated by Bernie White, Municipal Clerk, CBRM. The notes from the event are available on the AMA website at www.amans.ca . It was clear from discussions held on the 23rd that there is a need for a major review of the Municipal Elections Act. The AMA will be writing to the UNSM asking them to urge Minister MacDonnell of SNSMR to engage the necessary resources to review the Municipal Elections Act.
Here are some important dates:
- CAO/CEO Forum – April 18-19, 2013 (Holiday Inn, Truro)
- UNSM Spring Conference – May 8-10, 2013 (Yarmouth)
- AMA Spring Conference - June 12-14, 2013 (Rodd Grand - Yarmouth)
- AMA Fall Convention – October 8-11, 2013 (Inverary Inn, Baddeck)
While there is much to do and many important issues facing the AMA you have an excellent Board of Directors who are dedicated to the mission of the organization. Your Board is as follows:
- President, Rennie Bugley, CAO, Municipality of Cumberland
- Vice-President, Erin Beaudin, CAO, District of Chester
- Secretary/Treasurer, Nancy Dove, Manager, Financial Services, CBRM
- Past-President, Louis Coutinho, CAO, Town of Windsor
Regional Reps (Board Members)
- Ray Hickey, CAO, Town of Parrsboro
- Greg Keefe, Director of Finance, HRM
- Hugh Landry, CAO, Town of Mulgrave
- John MacKinnon, GIS Administrator, CBRM
- Joe O’Connor, CAO, Municipality of Inverness
- Kim Ramsay, Director of Finance, District of East Hants
- Connie Saulner, CAO, District of Clare
- Stephen Scannell, MPA Student Representative, Dalhousie School of Public Administration
- Kelly Sloan, Executive Assistant, Town of New Glasgow
- Ken Smith, CAO, Town of Bridgewater
- Rachel Turner, CAO, Town of Bridgetown
- Deputy Warden Jimmy MacAlpine, District of Digby, representing UNSM