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CAMA Launches Leadership Guide to Effective CAO-Council Relations



Leadership Guide to Effective CAO Council Relations


Recognizing the importance of building a successful relationship with Council within the Administrator role, the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators (CAMA) has launched a “Leadership Guide to Effective CAO-Council Relations” which is now available to members by visiting the Member’s Section (Toolkit Section) of the CAMA website.

“It can be lonely at the top – but we’re hoping to make it less lonely, through the new Leadership Guide to Effective CAO-Council Relations” said Bev Hendry, CAMA President and CAO for the Township of West Lincoln, ON.  “It is a working relationship that requires a constant balancing act.  It is very important for the CAO to set up and support Council for a successful term, but in addition to helping elected officials excel in their role, it’s about ensuring that you’re delivering in your role, as CAO, to the best of your abilities, and that you’re priming the organization for success.”

“CAMA is proud of the CAO profession, and you should never lose sight of the fact that what you do makes a difference.  Your actions and your leadership have an immediate and long-term impact on the community”, said Brenda Orchard, Chair of the Committee/ CAMA Treasurer/Representative for Ontario and CAO for Lennox & Addington County, ON.  “Don’t take that for granted and don’t lose sight of the positive impact of your work, even in difficult times.”

The Board Communications Committee that worked on this project in collaboration with consultant Strategic Steps, included the following CAMA members:  
•    Brenda Orchard, Chair/CAMA Treasurer & Representative for Ontario, CAO, Lennox & Addington County, ON 
•    Bev Hendry, CAMA President, CAMA Director-At-Large for Municipalities Under 100,000/CAO for the Township of West Lincoln, ON
•    Tony Kulbisky, CAMA Second Vice-President/Board Representative for Alberta & CAO for Westlock County, AB
•    Jamie Nagy, CAMA Board Representative for Manitoba & Saskatchewan & CAO, Town of Langham, SK
•    Gary Kent, CAMA Director-At-Large for Municipalities with a Population Over 100,000 & Chief Financial Officer and Commissioner of Corporate Services, Region of Peel, ON

You – as the CAO – are the conductor driving a massive train forward, and this guide provides you with information ensuring good governance and establishing role clarity;  relationship building between Council, the CAO, the Senior Leadership Team, and staff; covenants between Council and the CAO; and case studies – just to name a few. 

The execution of principles outlined in this guide may vary from municipality to municipality.  Each organization is unique, and carries unique circumstances that require different approaches to building relationships.  However, while some of the specifics may vary, the general principles remain the same.  We’ve also provided a few checklists on what to do when Council micromanages, adds priorities, or does not support the Mayor. 

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

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