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Political Acumen Toolkit



Municipal administrators work at the crossroads of management and politics.  Their job is a delicate balance between the formal and informal influences that shape decision-making; between the political and non-political relationships inherent in municipal activities. 

Recognizing the importance of political understanding in the role of senior municipal administrators, also referred to as political acumen, the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators (CAMA) developed a Political Acumen Toolkit.   Political Acumen is a core competency for CAOs, their direct reports, and the next generation of municipal leaders.

The toolkit is an online resource that is broken down into sections to help you easily navigate to the information you need.  You can also view all of the information in a PDF document if you wish.

The Toolkit offers information that clarifies roles and responsibilities with governance, supports relationship-building at all levels, encourages situational and self-awareness in municipal leaders, helps manage personal risks, and furthers effective communication and stakeholder engagement.

It provides definitions, sub-topics, downloadable resources, links to additional materials, and is fully searchable.  To allow users to navigate the material easily, the Toolkit has been divided into several categories, including:  Introduction, Administration & Council, Residents and Ratepayers, Intermunicipal, Provincial & Federal, Media, Mentorship, Case Studies, Mentorship Forum, and References & Additional Resources.

CAOs operate in a unique position and because of their role they sometimes feel isolated and don’t know where to turn to support when facing challenging or even overwhelming situations.  CAMA hopes this toolkit will become a valuable resource to support senior administrators in their careers, and will provide a practical way for CAMA members to connect and support one another.

CAMA made every effort to reflect the nuances of different government bodies and their requirements across the country.  However, it is always important to check local legislation, regulations and bylaws to be aware of the requirements for each subject matter area in each province or territory.

Got questions?  Want more information?  Contact Jennifer Goodine, Executive Director, CAMA National Office, 1-866-771-2262,


Dawn Chaplin


Building better municipalities together.

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