e-Brief December 21, 2020
President's 2020 Holiday Message
2021 CAMA Professional Development 50th Anniversary Webinar Series & January Activities
The CAMA Board is working on a virtual program that will provide you and your staff with professional development opportunities for the 2021 year. In a recent survey, you told us that having a virtual Conference for two to three full days would be difficult. To accommodate you and your staff, we are going to be offering webinars/networking opportunities for one-two hour segments throughout the year. In recognition of your continued membership in CAMA we would like to let you know that all of these professional development opportunities will be provided free of charge. We also have a great line up of webinars from our partners as part of our 50th Anniversary series. Watch for more details in the future as we start to roll out this program.

January will be a busy month for CAMA with the launch of our 2021 Awards of Excellence Program, the start of our next toolkit on the topic of Human Resources and the first webinar featuring Fredericton’s Police Chief Roger Brown talking about Mental Health in the workplace. Also, watch for your membership renewals. We hope that you will continue to find value in your membership with our virtual opportunities, and support our Association and the municipal profession.
Recognizing the importance of political understanding in the role of senior municipal administrators, also referred to as political acumen, the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators (CAMA) launched a Political Acumen Toolkit.   This resource can be found at politicalacumen.camacam.ca

Today’s featured category is information on Building Intermunicipal Relationships.

One of the best places to start with intermunicipal cooperation is for the CAO of one municipality to build a relationship with his or her neighbouring CAOs. While this does not mean that you need to be friends with every other CAO, it is important to develop a positive working relationship that understands and respects the role each CAO plays in representing his or her Council.

A good place to start is creating an informal, recurring meeting between the chief administrators, such as a monthly breakfast or lunch meeting. Even if there is no agenda, meeting regularly will keep the lines of communication open and help solidify rapport between the CAOs and, in turn, between the municipalities. Ongoing dialogue with your neighbours also helps build political acumen as it keeps you in the know about information your colleagues have that you may not have access to. What have your colleagues in municipal administration heard about legislative or administrative changes? Have there been rumours regarding your municipality that should be brought to your attention? Are residents from another municipality complaining about services in your jurisdiction? It is information like this that becomes a natural by-product of ongoing communication between administrations.

It is also a good idea to have the Councils from each municipality with a co-terminus boundary meet informally once or twice a year, especially if there is a high degree of collaboration between your municipalities. Building relationships between Councils provides a forum for creating understanding between jurisdictions and discussing common issues. Even in situations where elected officials from different communities are on opposing sides or dislike each other, providing opportunities for connection allows respectful discussion to take place so that Councils can jointly advance mutually-beneficial initiatives. When municipalities can work together to meet the needs of residents and ratepayers, both Administration and Council are seen in a positive light, and providing forums to achieve this outcome demonstrates political acuity on the part of the CAO and Senior Management.

Tip: CAOs who build relationships with other CAOs on a regional, provincial and national basis, are CAOs who are able to seek solutions and enlist feedback from others who have experienced similar situations. This adds to your toolbox, providing alternatives for your own Council to consider, and enabling you to be a more effective CAO. Sign up for the CAMA Mentorship Forum to connect with CAOs across Canada.
A senior administrator with a high degree of political acuity will stay abreast of the strategic planning efforts, annual reports, Council minutes, and initiatives of neighbouring municipalities, specifically on those issues that may affect their municipality or residents, directly.
The 2020 CAMA Awards of Excellence Submissions
We are pleased to feature the 2020 Awards of Excellence Submissions over the next few editions of e-Brief.  These are valuable sources of information and can also be found in the Members Section.
Submission: 2020 Willis Award for Innovation - Population Under 20,000 -Town of Saugeen Shores
Municipal Innovation Council

In 2019 the Town of Saugeen Shores began working with the Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII) to explore an opportunity to advance municipal innovation. With Bruce Power as a founding member, NII is Canada’s leading-edge nuclear applied research facility and centre of excellence for talent development and business innovation.

Realizing the potential to leverage the resources and global reach of NII (ie. innovation teams, research and studies), Saugeen Shores signed an MOU with NII. The MOU agreed Saugeen Shores would lead conversations with municipal partners to build a collaborative program to advance municipal innovation in Bruce County.

Saugeen Shores staff worked closely with potential partners (local municipal CAOs) to develop a concept document and business plan to support the Municipal Innovation Council as part of NII. The documents outlined areas of focus as Construction and Infrastructure, IT and Digital Services, Liveable Communities, and Municipal Sustainability.

The objective of the MIC is to find and implement efficiencies for municipal service delivery. This unique opportunity for smaller municipalities to play in a global innovation sandbox right here in Bruce County is recognized by all MIC partners.   Additional information can be found in the Members Section.
Submission: 2020 Willis Award for Innovation – Over 100,000 - City of Coquitlam
City of Coquitlam’s Constable Scarecrow

Enhancing road safety, specifically reducing speeding, is a priority of the Coquitlam RCMP as it ranks as the top policing concern of our community. Adding human resources to our policing complement can be expensive so we look to non-traditional approaches that are both innovative and low-cost for solving the concerns of our community.

To reduce speeding in the community while remaining fiscally responsible, a life-sized metal cut-out of a police officer named Constable Scarecrow was affixed to City infrastructure. The Black Cat radar device was used to record vehicle information which was then analyzed to determine the effectiveness of the cut-out at reducing vehicle speeds. Results from a year-long project found it to be an effective deterrent on major arterial roads for specific time periods. We will continue to use Constable Scarecrow together with other tools to affect change on driving behaviours as these changes were observed at a considerably lower cost.

This is the first known evaluation of the utility of an inanimate police officer on motorist speed: a low-cost and easily implementable intervention for communities of all sizes.
Submission: 2020 Environment Award – Population Over 100,000 - City of Richmond
Brazilian Elodea Management Program

Brazilian elodea is the most aggressive aquatic aquarium trade plant species globally. Brazilian elodea was first identified in the City in 2014. The infestation is localized to one area in Richmond; likely from a discarded aquarium. Brazilian elodea forms dense mats in water sources and is easily confused with similar-looking aquatic plants. Brazilian elodea can cause poor habitat conditions for fish and other wildlife. It restricts water movement and traps sediments subsequently altering the natural characteristics of the ecosystem. Brazilian elodea can also have negative economic impacts, as it clogs rivers and drainage canals which then require constant maintenance. In lakes and rivers it makes recreational activities such as fishing, swimming and boating difficult or impossible. It can impede flood capacity and storm infrastructure, which increases municipal maintenance costs. The City of Richmond has been managing a large infestation of Brazilian elodea within a large water feature near the West Dike since 2014. There are currently only two confirmed sites of Brazilian elodea in BC. The City’s pesticide-free management approach has successfully reduced the infestation by over 90% and effectively restored natural conditions.
  • Shawn Andrews, Director of Fire, Emergency, and IT Services/Deputy Chief Administrative Officer - Municipality of the District of Guysborough, NS
  • Carly Ford, Administrator, Village of Borden, SK
  • Cindy Larson, Chief Administrative Officer, Town of Saltcoats, SK
  • Philip Tetlow, Director, RSM Canada, Toronto, ON
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