Councillor Roles and Responsibilities
In 2020, the County completed an external, independent comprehensive review of its electoral divisions, which resulted in the reallocation of electoral division to better balance the number of people in each division. With that review, Council passed a new Electoral Boundaries and Council Composition Bylaw (PDF), reducing the number of councilors from nine to seven. One councillor is elected from each of the electoral divisions.
Office of the Council
The Council is the governing body of the municipal corporation and the custodian of its powers, both legislative and administrative. The Municipal Government Act provides that councils can only exercise the powers of the municipal corporation in the proper form, either by bylaw or resolution.
A councillor’s job is to work with other Council members to set the overall direction of the municipality through their role as a policy maker. The policies that Council sets are the guidelines for Administration to follow as it does the job of running the municipality. A councillor will spend a lot of time creating new policies and programs or reviewing the current ones to make sure they are working as they should.
- A councillor is elected to look after the interests of the entire municipality.
- A councillor in a municipality such as Rocky View County, that has electoral divisions, must be careful not to place the interest of their electoral division above the interest of the whole municipality.
- A councillor must base any decision on what is best for the entire municipality. Council’s effectiveness depends on councillors providing input on their electoral divisions while thinking and voting for the whole municipality.
- Councillors also have to make certain that they do not put themselves in a conflict of interest situation and must ensure that decisions made do not benefit them personally, their immediate family, or their friends.
Excerpts from the Municipal Government Act
General duties of councilors
Section 153: Councillors have the following duties:
(a) to consider the welfare and interests of the municipality as a whole and to bring to council’s attention anything that would promote the welfare or interests of the municipality;
(a.1) to promote an integrated and strategic approach to Intermunicipal land use planning and service delivery with neighbouring municipalities;
(b) to participate generally in developing and evaluating the policies and programs of the municipality;
(c) to participate in council meetings and council committee meetings and meetings of other bodies to which they are appointed by the council;
(d) to obtain information about the operation or administration of the municipality from the chief administrative officer or a person designated by the chief administrative officer;
(e) to keep in confidence matters discussed in private at a council or council committee meeting until discussed at a meeting held in public;
(e.1) to adhere to the code of conduct established by the council under section 146.1(1);
(f) to perform any other duty or function imposed on councillors by this or any other enactment or by the council.
Section 201 (1) A council is responsible for
(a) developing and evaluating the policies and programs of the municipality;
(c) carrying out the powers, duties and functions expressly given to it under this or any other enactment.
(2) A council must not exercise a power or function or perform a duty that is by this or another enactment or bylaw specifically assigned to the chief administrative officer or a designated officer.
(3) The purposes of a municipality are
(a) to provide good government,
(a.1) to foster the well-being of the environment,
(a.2) to foster the economic development of the municipality,
(b) to provide services, facilities or other things that, in the opinion of council, are necessary or desirable for all or a part of the municipality,
(c) to develop and maintain safe and viable communities, and
(d) to work collaboratively with neighbouring municipalities to plan, deliver and fund intermunicipal services.
Office of the Mayor
With the 2021 Municipal Election, the Chief Elected Official (CEO) of Rocky View County is the Mayor (formerly known as the Reeve). The Mayor, in addition to performing a councillor’s duties, chairs each Council meeting. The Mayor must also perform any other duty imposed under the Municipal Government Act or any other enactment. In practice, the Mayor is also the main spokesperson for the municipality, unless that duty is delegated to another councillor.
The Council of Rocky View County annually appoints the Mayor from among the councillors at the Organizational Meeting. A Deputy Mayor (formerly Deputy Reeve) will assume this role if the Mayor is not available. The Deputy Mayor is also appointed by Council from its members.
As per Section 154 of the Municipal Government Act, the Mayor has the following duties:
(1) A chief elected official, in addition to performing the duties of a councillor, must:
(a) preside when in attendance at a council meeting unless a bylaw provides that another councillor or other person is to preside, and
(b) perform any other duty imposed on a chief elected official by this or any other enactment or bylaw.
(3) Despite subsection (2), the chief elected official may be a member of a board, commission, subdivision authority or development authority established under Part 17 only if the chief elected official is appointed in the chief elected official’s personal name.
The Mayor also has specific duties and responsibilities under Council’s Procedure Bylaw, Code of Conduct Bylaw, and various Council policies such as the Proclamation Policy and Council Compensation and Expense Reimbursement Policy.
Time Commitment / Workload
The Municipal Government Act provides an outline of duties for members of Council. The Act does not, however, indicate the minimum number of hours per week members should spend in performing their duties.
Alberta councillors are elected for a term of four years.
A survey of current Rocky View County Council indicated councillors spend, on average, 35 to 37 hours per week on their Council duties. The Mayor and Deputy Mayor positions require the highest time commitment.
Being a Rocky View County councillor involves:
- Attendance at board and committee meetings
- Answering emails, letters, and telephone calls from residents
- Representing the County at public events such as grand openings, public meetings, and parades
- Attending ‘in-service’ training opportunities and workshops
Council meetings are generally held on Tuesdays beginning at 9:00 a.m. In preparation for the meeting, an agenda package ranging from 100 to 400 pages (including supporting materials) is available electronically to Council members on the Tuesday prior to the meeting, allowing time to read and review the issues. In addition to the regularly scheduled meetings, there are budget meetings held in December of each year.
Policies and Legislation