Before You File Your Nomination Paper
This section provides a brief overview of what to take into consideration prior to running for municipal office.
Are you Qualified?
To become a candidate, you must be
- at least 18 years of age on nomination day (September 18, 2017);
- a Canadian citizen; and
- a resident of the Town of Three Hills for the 6 consecutive months immediately preceding Nomination Day (March 18, 2017)
Ineligibility for Nomination
You are not eligible to become a candidate under any of the following circumstances:
- if you are the auditor of the municipality;
- if your current property taxes are more than $50 in arrears;
- if you are in default for any debt to the Town of Three Hills, in excess of $500 for more than 90 days; or
- if within the previous 10 years you have been convicted of an offense under the Local Authorities Election Act (LAEA), or the Canada Elections Act.
If you are a judge, Member of Parliament, Senator, or Member of the Legislative Assembly, you must resign that position before you take office as a member of council.
If you are a municipal employee and you wish to run for municipal office, you must take a leave of absence as outlined in the Local Authorities Election Act LAEA. You may notify your employer on or after July 1 in the election year (on or after the day council passes a resolution setting Election Day in the case of a by-election) but before the last working day prior to Nomination Day.
As an elected official, the demands on your time can be extensive. You will be elected for a four-year term of office and during that time you will be required to attend:
- regular and special meetings of council;
- council committee meetings;
- meetings of other boards and agencies to which you are appointed as a council representative;
- conferences, conventions, seminars and workshops for training and discussion; and
- other events promoting your municipality.
Time must also be spent reading agenda material and talking with residents, the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and other relevant stakeholders. This will all be part of the necessary preparation for meetings so that you can make informed decisions.
Elected officials generally receive remuneration or other financial compensation for the time and energy they have devoted to their community.
Roles and Responsibilities of an Elected Official
As a member of council, you will have the opportunity to significantly influence the future of your community. Your effectiveness as a member of council depends on your ability to persuade the other members of council to adopt and support your view. Decisions of council may only be made by resolution or bylaw and must be made at public meetings, at which a quorum is present.
As an individual member of council, you will not have the power to commit your municipality to any expenditure or to direct the activities of the municipal employees. Any promise you make as a part of your election campaign that involves municipal expenditures or the activities of the employees can only be carried our if you can convince a majority of council that it is a good idea.
In accordance with the Municipal Government Act, a municipal council may pass legislation in the form of municipal bylaws. These bylaws remain in effect until they are amended or repealed. You will not be starting with a blank slate and creating your ideal municipality from scratch. If you are running with some kind of reform in mind, you will have to become familiar with what exists, how it has been created – by bylaw, resolution or policy – and why it exists before you will be able to start discussing your changes.
Administration of a Municipality
As a member of council, it will be your duty to establish policy for your municipality. It is the job of the administration to implement the policy direction. Alberta municipalities have competent and dedicated administrators. The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) is the only employee of Council, and you will rely on the support, advice, and assistance of your CAO if you are to be an effective member of council. The CAO’s training, experience, and understanding of how and why things have developed the way they have will be an important resource for you.
How Else Can You Prepare?
The best way to find out what the job is all about is to spend some time reading council agendas and minutes, and talking to current members of council.
- Familiarize yourself with local bylaws and municipal legislation;
- Read council agendas and minutes;
- Sit in the gallery at council meetings; and
- Talk to municipal staff to find out what other information is available.
- Researching now will help you in your campaign and prepare you for assuming
- Talk to municipal the CAO to find out what other information is available. Researching now will help you in your campaign and prepare you for assuming office.