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Municipal Affairs
March 22, 2011

The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable
Kevin O’Brien, Minister of Municipal Affairs:

Provincial Government Supports Important Training
for Municipal Councillors and Administrators

Each member of this House of Assembly would acknowledge the significant role municipalities have, and the important contribution elected councillors and municipal administrative staff make to our province. Our government certainly recognizes the importance of these individuals and has made a strong commitment to work with our partners, Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL), the Combined Councils of Labrador, the Professional Municipal Administrators and others to provide training on a wide variety of matters important to the functioning of a municipality.

Last year, we provided approximately $100,000 in funding, including Matched Training Funding to the Municipal Training and Development Corporation, to provide training to councillors, town managers and town clerks. Financial assistance for those working with a municipality so they may attend training sessions throughout the province was also a part of this funding.

The Department of Municipal Affairs is leading the way in the training which is offered to municipalities. We have stepped to the forefront and provided sessions on important matters such as the Gas Tax Program, municipal budgeting, Integrated Community Sustainability Plans, and Public Sector Accounting Board Standards – programs critical to the financial health of municipalities across the province. As well, my staff offer training sessions regarding water quality, emergency response planning, the roles and responsibilities of councillors and other topics as requested of us by our partners and their membership.

In the last number of years, we have organized approximately 90 training sessions which have been attended by over 2,000 people. This is no small feat but one I believe is having a direct impact upon our municipalities.

Recently, I had the privilege of attending the swearing-in of the inaugural council for the Town of Fogo Island. At the community ceremony, MNL was represented by Mayor Al Hawkins of Grand Falls-Windsor who stated that this government has a better relationship with municipalities than any he has experienced. Such a statement is an important one and I believe is a result of the engaging and collaborative approach we have undertaken with our municipalities.

In the coming months more training opportunities are being made available on topics such as councillor roles and responsibilities and municipal infrastructure roles and responsibilities. I encourage each of the 271 municipalities we have in Newfoundland and Labrador to contact the Department of Municipal Affairs for further information and to take part in these sessions.

2011 03 22                                                                   1:55 p.m.

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