What do you believe the role of councillors is as it relates to City of Airdrie administration?
Thursday, Oct 12, 2017 06:00 am
Council sets policy and gives direction to the city manager who is councilís only employee. The city manager directs staff to work within the perimeters of the policy. Council is not involved in administrative matters except with respect to the hiring of the city manager. Besides asking for clarification during council meetings, a councillor emails any questions to the appropriate individual and copies the city manager on all correspondence. Councillors cross the line when they direct staff to work on a councillorís specific project. It is important we respect staff and keep within the guidelines of the Code of Conduct.
Council is voted in to make final decisions without the influence of any city staff including administration or chief administrative officer. Administration has an important role in managing the City according to what decisions are made by council, not the other way around, which I believe has been the case for years in Airdrie.
The role of council is to direct administration and give them the best tools and guidance on how to manage the day-to-day operations of the City. Airdrie needs a council that has its own voice, able to direct administration; thatís why elections exist every four years.
The role of council is to bring the wishes and vision from the citizens and share with the head of the City and City staff to come up with logistics on how they can be taken care of Ė at what cost, timeline, shared services, etcetera. Council sets the direction and the end result; they are the beginning and the end. The middle is the how. It is mostly up to the city manager/City staff to present valuable, fiscally responsible, knowledgeable, citizen/business-centric results. It is councilís job to question, give further direction until an appropriate solution is in place Ė always respectfully.
When it comes to City administration, councilís only employee is the city manager. Council should give any directions or policies to the manager and he/she takes it to administration and vice versa. Itís a machine that we need to keep well oiled because if one gear breaks off, it could seize the whole system.
The role of a city councillor is to provide direction to administration, and then it is up to administration to do the research and report back to council with the information requested of them. When that information comes back to council, it is then councilís responsibility to work with our administration to implement the actions required. Council must respect and trust the reports administration prepares, because council is not the professionals in infrastructure, community safety, culture and recreation, transit or the social needs of our community but we must hold administration accountable for our citizens.
The role of a council member is to work collaboratively with his/her colleagues and City administration. A councillor plays several roles within the City governance system to have a better understanding of what is done already and make sure itís aligned with what Airdronians want. City administration must understand we are accountable to the population in every decision. At any time, none should take it personally. Keep in mind, we all work for the same goal: whatís best for the quality of peopleís lives.
The role of a city councillor with regards to administration is to work through the city manager to provide staff with strategic vision and direction and to rely on them as subject matter experts when making decisions.
I believe in healthy boundaries, open communication and clear expectations. Respecting the scope of each of our responsibilities and ensuring no boundaries are crossed in the process, fosters a mutually collaborative environment without micromanaging. Two-way communication needs to exist from both parties to understand the intended purpose and scope of the policies so we stay on task. Relevant feedback needs to be shared for successful outcomes. Finally, we are mutually dependant on each other for success; the health of our relationship can be the thermometer of morale and our choices and actions should be supportive of one another.
As a councillor, we have to ensure we are working on behalf of the community while managing the city in a financially responsible manner. They are leaders in the community who should convey the values and interests of their constituents.
The role of a councillor is to make decisions, pass bylaws and set policy on behalf of the City. Our city is staffed with employees whose work is managed by the city manager, or chief administrative officer (CAO). The CAO is responsible for ensuring the Cityís policies and programs are implemented, keeping council up to date on its operation and appropriate staffing is in place. The CAO is directly accountable to city council. Councillors are not micro-managers of the day-to-day operation of the City. To seek understanding, we also connect with each of the directors to ask questions.
I believe the role of council and administration is to work collaboratively to actively engage the citizens and business community; to ascertain the wants, needs and priorities of our city and to supply, procure, enhance and communicate all aspects of the strategic vision of our citizens; to also establish clear lines of communication between citizens, City of Airdrie staff, council and appointed advisory boards and promote a vibrant, caring and inclusive community; and, to accomplish all these things with the most cost effective delivery possible.
Council as a whole, through the city manager, advises, directs and guides administration towards fulfilling the needs of our city. It provides vision, policy and encouragement to that end. It is important that it does so respectfully; however, through the city manager, it must also hold staff accountable if the will of council is not followed. If the city manager is viewed by council as a whole to fail in giving proper direction to staff, then a conversation must be had between council and the city manager. Consensus of council would then dictate the outcome should those conversations fail to rectify the situation.
The role of council is to set policy. Council hires one CAO Ė the employee to whom council delegates the day-to-day operation of City business. It is councilís job to remain professional, respectful and listen to the reports City staff provide each meeting to help guide and formulate the policy council will vote on. It is also the role of council to connect the residents in our community to appropriate departments when a question, issue or opportunity arises through a communication policy adopted in 2017.
I want to build strong, respectful and effective relationships at City Hall with the direct intent to get the job done. A councillorís role is to vote on policy put forward by our administration team, while holding the best interests of Airdrie at hand.
I believe the councillors role in relation to the City of Airdrie administration is in engaging in the growth and changes within the city, enforcing what is priority and in need for the citizens living here in Airdrie. Improving way of life, creating a well established and secure atmosphere in order for the city to increase and prosper.
The purpose of city council is to provide good government, services, facilities or other things that Ė in the opinion of council Ė are necessary or desirable for all or a part of the municipality; and to develop and maintain safe and viable communities. In essence, a councillorís role is to collaborate with administration to ensure the powers, duties and functions of the municipality are appropriately carried out. A collaborative rapport with the city manager would ensure council directions and policies flow down through the city manager to administration and all administration information flows up through the city manager to council.
The relationship between council and administration is defined by the Alberta Municipal Government Act and itís much longer than the one hundred words I am allowed here. Basically, council sets policy and administration carries it out; the difference between governance and management. Councilís only point of contact with administration is the city manager. In fact, he is the only employee council hires directly, the only one with a foot in both camps. To be effective in representing the will of the people, council must work through the city manager.
I believe councillors need to encourage, support and create a positive environment for City of Airdrie administration. Although councillors work alongside administration, they should be dealing directly with the city manager when issues arise or direction is needed for staff. Councillors are meant to listen to reports and provide vision, direction and policy for the administration and departments to follow.
Councillors should also do their own research, so they are able to make good decisions for the city and help provide possible alternative views. I believe it is important councillors have a working relationship with administration. This will provide more effective communication within the city. I strongly believe communication of ideas will help find new, creative ways to help the city and its people. Finally, if teamwork is utilized between staff and council, I believe more effective policy will be produced. I strongly feel all parties want the best for the city, and people are stronger together than alone.
Similar to a non-profit board, the mayor and City council are the ones who set strategic priorities and corporate policies for the municipality and provide this information to administration to carry forth. Councillors may request administration gather information and make recommendations, suggestions or ideas with regard to making needed changes. In the end, it is council who will make decisions at its meetings. It is vital to remember council and administration are both working toward the same goal: doing whatís in the best interest of Airdrie residents and the City of Airdrie as a corporate entity.
Question was sent to all candidates for whom the Airdrie City View has contact information, However, not all responded by press time.