Improvement districts administration
An improvement district board of trustees can hire employees to manage the day-to-day operation and administration of the improvement district, provide support to the board and implement board decisions. Trustees must establish officer positions for corporate and financial administration.
Officers and employees
Every improvement districts must have two officer positions, established by bylaw, to perform key roles in administering the improvement district. Small improvement districts often rely on volunteers, while larger improvement districts may retain some part-time or full-time staff to manage day-to-day operations.
One position is responsible for corporate administration and the other is responsible for financial administration. A number of mandatory duties are assigned under the Local Government Act to each position, but the board may assign additional duties.
Corporate administration includes, at a minimum:
- Preparing accurate meeting minutes and ensuring the safekeeping of minutes, bylaws and other improvement district business records
- Providing access to all improvement district business records as required by law or authorized by the board of trustees
- Signing and certifying copies of bylaws and other documents as required or requested
- Accepting, on behalf of the improvement district or the board of trustees, notices and documents given or provided to the improvement district or the board of trustees
- Keeping the improvement district seal and having it affixed to documents as required
Financial administration includes, at a minimum:
- Receiving all money paid to the improvement district
- Keeping all funds and securities of the improvement district
- Expending and disbursing money in the manner authorized by the board of trustees
- Investing funds in investments
- Preparing, maintaining and keeping safe the accurate records and full accounts of the improvement district’s financial affairs
- Compiling and supplying information on the financial affairs of the improvement district required by the Inspector of Municipalities.
The same person can be appointed to both positions and assigned any title the board decides is appropriate such as manager, administrator, or corporate officer.
As an employer, the board is required to comply with requirements set out in provincial and federal legislation such as the Employment Standards Act, Workers Compensation Act and the Income Tax Act. Trustees are also encouraged to obtain insurance coverage for trustees, employees and volunteers.
While trustees govern the improvement district and set priorities, employees are responsible for the implementation of the priorities and decisions, and for overseeing the day-to-day operations needed to provide services.
Improvement district trustees are not employees, and only paid staff can undertake paid work on the improvement district's behalf. An improvement district may become legally liable if trustees perform administrative or operational work on the improvement district's behalf. For example, WorkSafeBC may not cover a trustee injured while working on a water system.
Trustee and employee relationships
While employees must recognize and accept decisions made by the board as their employer, they also have a responsibility to advise the board on the implications of its decisions, especially as they relate to legislative requirements.
Clear lines of communication increase the effectiveness of board of trustees-employee working relationships. Other management tools that can help include policies on such subjects as:
- Access by trustees to buildings and other facilities except in emergencies
- Ethical behaviour standards
- Hours during which trustees can contact employees
Trustees can also ensure that employees have current and inclusive job descriptions, receive regular performance planning and appraisals, and can take advantage of training opportunities.