Local government administration

Local government staff implement the direction and decisions set by municipal councils and regional district boards. Certain duties, such as the administration of local government corporate operations and finances, are required under provincial legislation.

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Local government decision-making

Local government decisions are the responsibility of the local government’s governing body – for municipalities, a council comprising a mayor and councillors and for regional districts, a board comprising electoral area directors and directors from member municipalities and, in some cases, Treaty First Nations.

Under provincial legislation, local governments have the broad authority to provide services, regulate activities and undertake many other functions within their communities. Local government administration refers to the staff and other resources needed to provide these functions.

Local government staff implement council or board decisions around providing services and programs to their communities, such as police and fire protection and regulation, animal control, public health and business licensing.

Local governments have flexibility in how and what services they provide and other powers they exercise; therefore, the duties of municipal and regional district staff can range widely.

Officers and employees

Local government corporate powers enable municipalities and regional districts to enter into the agreements necessary to hire and manage staff. Local governments choose the number and type of staff – employees and officers – considered appropriate to meet the needs of, and operate within the financial capacity of, their communities.

All municipalities and regional districts must create at least two administration positions: one officer responsible for the local government's corporate administration; and, the other officer responsible for its financial administration. Local governments may also establish any other officer position, such as a chief administrative officer to manage its overall operations. Once created, corporate officer, financial officer and chief administrative officers have duties specified in legislation and by the local government.

As employers, local governments can use tools such as job descriptions, employment contracts, collective agreements, bylaws, and policies to help the clarify duties, salaries and benefits of officers and employees. Local governments must also comply with any requirements set in provincial and federal legislation such as the Employment Standards Act, Workers Compensation Act and the Income Tax Act.

Improvement districts and other governance bodies

Other governing bodies, including improvement districts and special purpose boards may also establish administrative positions to support their function and service delivery. As with local governments, administration of these bodies is based on rules found in legislation, bylaws, policies and contracts.