Questions at the Door: I was asked a detailed and technical question about the role of the councillor.
Being a member of St. Clair Township Council is a demanding but rewarding position, and I feel I can make a positive difference.
A Councillor is elected to represent the public and to consider the well-being and interests of the municipality.
Election to office requires a broad understanding of the issues and the procedures for helping out the residents and land owners.
Knowing what the role requires is step one.
A Councillor plays several roles including Representative, Policy-making and Stewardship roles.
Councillor as a Representative
- I have to ensure that the views of local communities and individuals in the Ward are represented and fed into decisions taken by the Council.
- I have to be visible and accessible as a trusted point of contact and an effective advocate for Ward 2.
- I also have a responsibility to communicate Council policy and decisions to residents and land owners in the Ward.
This means I have to spend time speaking and working with members of the public, community groups, and fellow ward members.
A councillor should make decisions in the best interests of the municipality as a whole and I hope that with your input and feedback, I will be able to make the correct decisions.
Councillor as a Policy-maker
Councillors also develop policies with respect to:
- Accountability and transparency
- Public notices
- Delegation of authority
- Hiring policies including pregnancy and parental leaves
- Procurement of goods and services and disposition or sale of land
- Relationship between council and staff
- Protection of tree canopy and natural vegetation
Councillor as a Steward of the Township
The Township’s Asset Management Plan is reviewed every five years, and the planning progress and strategy is reviewed annually.
Procurement Procedures must be followed.
Councillors have a key role to play in scrutinizing and monitoring how well services are delivered by the Council and its partners and staff.
- Council’s objectives are to ensure financial and administrative resources are used efficiently.
- Council monitors and measures municipality’s administrative effectiveness and efficiency of the interrelationship of Council and Township Staff.
Municipalities should recognize the importance of council-staff relations:
Council Accountability and Transparency
The Township’s administrative practices and policies ensure specific accountability on the part of its employees through the following initiatives:
- Appointment and retention of competent leadership, including without limitation a Chief Administrative Officer
- Establishment of a fair and consistent performance management and evaluation process;
- Fair and transparent hiring practices and policies
- Adoption of consultative policies and practices
- Adherence to a continuous improvement philosophy in regards to accountability and transparency
Council Code of Conduct
Municipalities are required to adopt a code of conduct for members of council and certain local boards.
St. Clair Township By-Law 10 of 2019 – Code of Conduct for Council and Local Boards
Council participation in Standing Committees
In addition to all of the above duties and responsibilities of Council Members, there are a number of Standing Committees that they sit on.
They carry out the work of Council by reviewing the situation or issue, and then report back to Council with recommendations.
Advisory Councils are made up of a mix of councillors and members of the public.
Source: 2022 Municipal Election Candidate Information Session with additions from the St. Clair Township website.