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New training tool to support elected officials

Presented by Tim Duhamel
in Governance
October, 2020

Sponsored by Bloom Centre for Municipal Education

Municipalities are in the business of supporting one thing: quality of life for residents. The quality of services, recreational facilities, and overall community well-being are a direct result of the decisions that elected municipal officials make as representatives of residents within their community. Ultimately, the vibrancy and vitality of a community relies on effective elected official leadership. It is therefore critically important that officials stay up to date on all competencies and skills required for their role.

Councillor Wayne Rothe – the longest serving council member in Spruce Grove, Alberta’s history and recipient of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association’s Distinguished Service Award – knows this all too well. As an experienced municipal representative, Councillor Rothe has seen first-hand the importance of elected officials keeping up with the times and the new generations of residents that they represent.

In the last 20 years, municipalities in Canada have seen several significant changes. Each community has its own unique challenges, but common threads exist. The rise of the digital age and social media has changed how well-connected people are, the speed at which information travels, and has altered resident expectations.

Looking ahead, one of the greatest future challenges for elected officials will be remaining up to date on relevant policies and trends, which seem to be changing faster than ever in the era of social media and infinite information available at our fingertips. Community growth is also a huge challenge for elected officials as they attempt to retain community identity and maintain facilities and infrastructure. To weather these changes, elected officials need to be equipped with the skills to deliver modernized municipal government processes with less cash flow.

“We must be more creative,” says Councillor Rothe. “I’ve seen municipalities that have introduced some great programs that incentivise staff to save money while still delivering exceptional service.”

Education and learning the role of an elected official have traditionally come largely in the form of putting in time and gaining experience in municipal roles after becoming first elected. “Elected officials have to become more skilled and knowledgeable at everything we do. Governance is becoming increasingly complex and the learning curve is great.” A better understanding of the requirements of the role and a solid foundation of knowledge with ongoing continuing education is crucial.

Until now, tailored educational resources and professional development of elected officials, like those offered by Bloom Centre for Municipal Education, did not exist. Bloom offers highly effective and proven educational on-demand, web-based programs to support elected officials in staying up to date on relevant skills and competencies required for their ever-evolving roles.

Councillor Rothe and other tenured elected officials are intimately linked to the Bloom curriculum, assisting with creating content that combines municipal administrative and council knowledge to provide key insights from experts who have worked on both sides. “I appreciate on-demand learning so I can re-watch a webinar if I want to do so, and I love that an entire council can watch a webinar together from anywhere for one low cost,” he says.

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Engaging in a high-quality, tailored professional development program is a unique resource for any municipality aiming to increase the effectiveness of officials and, ultimately, to support optimum quality of life within the community at large. Find more information at MW

Municipal World Insider and Executive Members: You might also be interested in Fred Dean and Nigel Bellchamber’s article: New council members: Eight mistakes you can make as soon as you take office. Note that you can now access the complete collection of past articles (and more) from your membership dashboard.

Tim Duhamel is the Founder and President of Bloom Centre for Municipal Education (

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