Local Government - Laws & Procedures - The Role of Council
Mandate & Authority
Municipal Governments have basically two reasons for existence:
To complete those tasks assigned to them by Provincial Government, and
To provide those services required by the residents who pay for its existence.
For these reasons, the Government of Manitoba has provided enabling legislation. The Municipal Act, the Planning Act, the Labour Relations Act, the Employment Standards Act, the Highway Traffic Act, the Emergency Measures Act, etc. provide the rules for the operation of the Town.
The Act provides that all residents eligible to vote will elect a Mayor and four Councillors. Under that Act, the authority and power to govern is vested in Council as a whole.
The task at hand for Municipal Council is large. They must represent the wishes and requirements of their citizens to higher levels of government, and they must reflect these requirements in their own forum when making decisions about the future direction of the Town. Councils are elected to set Policy and direction.
Roles & Responsibilities
Under The Municipal Act, individual members of council have the following duties:
to consider the well-being and interests of the municipality as a whole and to bring to council’s attention anything that would promote the well-being or the interests of the municipality;
to participate in developing and evaluating the policies and programs of the municipality;
to participate in meetings of the council and of council committees and other bodies to which the member is appointed by council;
to keep in confidence a matter that is discussed at a meeting closed to the public and that the committee decides to keep confidential until the matter is discussed at a meeting of the council or a committee conducted in public; and
to perform any other duty or function imposed on the member by the council or other legislation.
No one Member of Council has the authority to make decisions, nor act individually. All decisions that are required to be made by Council MUST be made by the majority and MUST be done by Resolution or By-law. By-Laws and Resolutions can only be passed at a Regular Meeting of Council, or a Special Meeting of Council.
No Resolutions or By-Laws can be passed at committee meetings or Committee of the Whole Meetings, therefore decisions cannot be made at that level, only recommendations.