____Posted Tuesday May 9 2017 ____

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The Evolving Role of City Managers and Chief Administrative Officers

New paper by the Institute on Municipal Finance & Governance explores the role of the city manager in Canadian municipal government.

Toronto – Local governments function best when they have a council that represents the diverse elements in society and promotes open and deliberative decision-making, supported by a public service that values professionalism and rational decision-making. The often hidden, but very important, role of the city manager and the relationship between elected officials and the public service is a key determinant of the success of any municipality.

The latest IMFG paper in the series on local governance in Canada demystifies the changing dynamic of how decisions are made at city halls across the country. It looks at how the relationship between elected officials and the public service has changed over time and what role the city manager or chief administrative officer plays in maintaining good council-staff relations.

“To promote good relationships, staff must respect democracy, and council members must respect professional management and professional opinion,” write authors Michael Fenn and David Siegel. “The chief administrative officer provides a link between these two cultures – a translator between two groups speaking different languages.”

The paper presents practical principles for maintaining good council-staff relations, and warns of the clouds on the horizon that could threaten the city manager/chief administrative officer model of local governance, which is in place in virtually every municipality in Ontario and across Canada.

Read the Paper



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