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;
(b) making sure that the powers, duties and functions of the municipality are appropriately carried out;
(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.
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.
(2) The chief elected official is a member of all council committees and all bodies to which council has the right to appoint members under this Act, unless the council provides otherwise.
(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.
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 (Reeve) and Deputy Mayor (Reeve) 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
Note: Fillable PDF forms do not open properly on some mobile devices and web browsers. To open the form:
- Download and Save the PDF form to your computer
- Open the saved PDF form from your computer with Adobe Reader.
Preparing to be a Councillor
All Rocky View County election sign advertising must adhere to Election Sign Bylaw C-8124-2021 (PDF).
Definition of an Election Sign
An Election sign must be comprised of all the following attributes in order for it to be considered an election sign:
- Is used to promote a candidate for an election administered by Rocky View County or school board elections.
- Has a maximum sign face dimensions not exceeding 1.2 metres (4 feet) by 1.2 metres (4 feet).
- Is not illuminated.
- Indicates the name of a nominated candidate or registered third party.
- Election advertising and signs that do not the follow the definition of an election sign is subject to the enforcement and penalty provisions of the Land Use Bylaw and the Election Sign Bylaw.
Election Signs on Public Road Right-of-Ways
Although Election advertising and campaigning can occur at any time once a person is a nominated candidate, or a third party has registered with the Rocky View County or the Alberta Government, election signs cannot be displayed on any public road right-of-ways, until nomination day, September 20, 2021. Public road right-of-ways are defined on page nine of the Election Sign Bylaw (PDF).
Election signs on public road right-of-ways must be removed 72 hours following the closing of the voting stations (by October 21, 2021) or be subject to the requirements and enforcement of the Election Sign Bylaw (PDF).
For the placement of election signs within Provincial Highway's rights-of-ways, follow Alberta Transportation's guidelines (PDF).
Election Signs on Private Property
Elections signs that meet the definition outlined above, may be placed on private property without a development permit, starting January 1, 2021 until October 21, 2021. After that time, the sign must be removed or it will be subject to the requirements and enforcement of the Land Use Bylaw.
Election signs are not permitted to be erected at any:
- Public parks
- Municipal reserves
- Environmental reserves
- Municipal and school reserves
- Public utility lots
- Property owned or occupied by rocky view county including, but not limited to, the county hall, cemeteries, fire stations, transfer sites, grader sheds, water treatment plants, wastewater treatment plants, and lift stations
- Buildings used for a voting station on election day or within the boundaries of the land on which a building used for voting station is located
Election Sign Bylaw infractions may be reported to Enforcement Services.
Frequently Asked Questions
If there are changes to the Candidate Information Form (Form 5) how can the candidate update those changes?
Section 27 (1.2) of the Local Authorities Election Act indicates any changes to Form 5 must be done in writing to the County within 48 hours after the change. The Elections Office will update the information accordingly.
Does a candidate have to have an official agent?
No, a candidate is not required to have an official agent.
Can someone, not the candidate, submit nomination papers on behalf of the candidate?
Yes, a representative of a candidate can submit nomination papers on their behalf.
Can someone run as a candidate if the person does not own property in Rocky View County?
Yes. Land ownership is a not an eligibility requirement to be a candidate.
A person is required to declare their place of residence is in Rocky View County and the division they are running in.
Rules of residence are outlined in section 48 of the Local Authorities Election Act which includes the requirement for a person to be a resident of only once place at a time for the purposes of voting, and a place where the person lives and sleeps and to which, when the person is absent, the person intends to return.
Can a candidate be nominated for more than one office? (e.g. School Trustee and Councillor)
Yes, as long as the nomination is for a position under a different local jurisdiction, for example – a school board is a separate elected authority from Rocky View County. Section 23 of the Local Authorities Election Act indicates that a person is not eligible to be nominated for more than one office of the same elected authority.
When is the $100 nomination deposit returned?
A candidate will receive the nomination deposit back if:
- The candidate is declared elected, or
- The candidate obtains at least half the number of votes than the candidate elected to office with the least number of votes, or
- The candidate withdraws within 24 hours after the close of nomination day if there are more than the required number of candidates are nominated for the particular office.
If the candidate dies before the close of voting stations on election day, the sum deposited by the candidate will be returned to the candidate’s estate.
If the candidate does not meet the criteria above, the deposit shall be paid into the general revenue of the municipality.
Is a person pursuing civil litigation against the municipality eligible for nomination?
Yes. Sections 22 and 23 of the Local Authorities Election Act list the circumstances in which a person would not be eligible for nomination and does not include ongoing litigation matters.
Can candidates file and withdraw their nomination papers numerous times between January and September (the nomination period)?
Nothing in the legislation prevents a candidate from submitting and withdrawing nomination papers between January 1, 2021 and 12:00 noon on September 20, 2021 (the nomination period).
If a candidate withdraws their nominations papers, will they be required to submit Campaign Disclosure Statement and Financial Statement (Form 26)?
Yes, a candidate who is nominated is required to submit this form for the period they were nominated.
The Local Authorities Election Act states that a nominee must be a resident for six months prior to January 1, 2021, so that would be June 1, 2020. Can someone be nominated as a candidate if they are not a resident as of January 1, 2021 but intend to reside in the municipality six months prior to September 20, 2021?
It is the position of Alberta Municipal Affairs that when a person signs their nomination paper, they are eligible under section 21 and not otherwise ineligible under section 22 and 23 of the Local Authorities Election Act. That includes meeting the six-month eligibility requirement. A candidate may seek independent legal advice if unsure of their eligibility under the Act.
The returning officer does not have the authority to challenge the validity of the information provided on the nomination papers. Electors have the responsibility to question the validity of the nomination papers and it also may be challenged through the Court.