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Municipal Benchmarking: A Necessary Evolution of our Municipal System Robert Keenan Community Cooperation Program Officer 2011 Municipal Symposium Gander.

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Presentation on theme: "Municipal Benchmarking: A Necessary Evolution of our Municipal System Robert Keenan Community Cooperation Program Officer 2011 Municipal Symposium Gander."— Presentation transcript:

1 Municipal Benchmarking: A Necessary Evolution of our Municipal System Robert Keenan Community Cooperation Program Officer 2011 Municipal Symposium Gander May 6, 2011

2 First, A Regional Government Reminder All municipalities should now have received copies of the regional government workbooks. Please complete the workbooks and return them to the MNL office at your earliest convenience. Avalon Reg. Gov. Consult: May 14 th, Heart’s Content Northern Reg. Gov. Consult: May 28 th, St. Anthony

3 What is Municipal Benchmarking? It is a method of determining whether a municipality is meeting its legislative responsibilities and its responsibilities to residents. It is the setting of reasonable goals for a wide array of municipal responsibilities and developing a plan to meet these goals. It is a tool to rate your municipality’s performance and to understand why or why not you are meeting expected performance levels.

4 Why should NL Municipalities Consider Benchmarks? Municipal governments have as much or more of a responsibility to residents as they do to the provincial government. Reporting requirements of our municipal system do not reflect this fact: Federal or Provincial Government imposes standards on municipalities – PSAB, Waste Management, Firefighting, Wastewater – while reporting requirements to residents are quite few (if any).

5 Why should NL Municipalities Consider Benchmarks? In fact, the opposite should be true. Municipal governments should be reporting more to residents on: –Service improvements/challenges –Infrastructure improvements/challenges –Administrative/taxation issues –Recreation ideas/plans Residents need this information because they provide ???? Of your revenue, but make up a small amount of reporting.

6 We have already completed four regional government consultations: –Happy Valley-Goose Bay –Corner Brook –Grand Falls-Windsor –Port Blandford Attendance levels at the workshops are good. Mostly councillors/mayors, but some administrators. Most importantly, the majority are taking the process seriously and are providing important and thoughtful feedback on regional government. Municipal Consultations

7 We have developed a workbook to allow councillors/mayors and administrators to better understanding regional government and to provide feedback on regional government. Six copies of the workbook were mailed out to all municipalities (most should have received them by now). If any town wants additional copies, printable versions can be downloaded off of the MNL website. Regional Government Workbook

8 Deadline for submitting the workbooks to MNL is December 1 st. Administrators can pick up copies of the workbook at the MNL booth at the trade show. Regional Government Workbook

9 The Regional Government Initiative is giving municipal administrators a choice between being Proactive or Reactive. The workbook that we have developed is giving administrators the opportunity to be reactive: –Submitted workbooks can be anonymous; –All administrators can either download a copy of the workbook from the MNL website, pick up a copy at the MNL booth (if still available), or complete and return a workbook already mailed to your municipality. Regional Government Initiative and Administrators

10 MNL would prefer if municipal administrators were proactive: –We know that administrators have the best understanding of how municipalities function and have a good grasp on the needs of municipalities and the problems with the municipal system. –We think that administrators can put forth valuable ideas on regional government and meaningful insight into the benefits and challenges of regional government. –Bottom line: Administrators need to make their opinions known because MNL will be developing its future policy based on the feedback we receive. Regional Government Initiative and Administrators

11 If administrators choose to be reactive: –Administrators will not have any say in how MNL moves forward with regional government; –Administrators will place the burden of imagining a regional government system entirely on MNL; –Administrators will not be full partners with MNL on regional government, increasing the chances of disagreement. Regional Government Initiative and Administrators

12 MNL is not doing this work because it thinks that municipalities are overstaffed. In fact, we think the opposite: municipalities need more staff and more specialized staff. One of the most significant problems facing municipalities is that they do not have the resources – financial or human – to do the necessary work to improve the municipality and make it more sustainable. Regional Government Initiative and Administrators

13 But… Common perception that municipalities need to tighten their belts because they waste money and are not effective. The easy target for “belt tightening” is the municipal administrator. Feasibility studies on amalgamation (and some ICSPs) often target administration as the main area where immediate savings can be realized. Regional Government Initiative and Administrators

14 Amalgamation: the most common (and the only meaningful) method of changing how a municipality is governed in NL. Who is most affected by the Fogo Island amalgamation? The 6 clerks that depend on their livelihood from the former municipalities. Simply because amalgamation is the only available solution it does not mean that it is the best solution. Regional Government Initiative and Administrators

15 What can MNL’s Regional Government Initiative do for administrator? It can give administrators the opportunity to help build a municipal system that: –Provides more resources and tools; –That strengthens the role of administrators; –Is not fixated on downsizing (amalgamation) as a cure for municipal problems. Regional Government Initiative and Administrators

16 Realistic Timelines Reform must be pursued with a level or urgency. However, reform will not occur quickly or in the near future. We are in Year Two of a multi-year process. Please keep this fact in mind. We do not have all the answers; we may not even know all of the questions. Most important: we, MNL, PMA, councillors/mayors, and staff, must address the problems in our municipal system and put forward solutions. Regional government is only one possible solution. We need to start putting forward more ideas to improve the municipal system.

17 Thank You Robert Keenan Community Cooperation Officer


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