What do I need to be an Effective Municipal Councillor?
Sincere desire to make your community better. This should be the main motivation for any form of public service including being a municipal councillor. A willingness to listen to a variety of demands place upon you and your time by individuals and groups in your community.
1. Sincere desire
Sincere desire to make your community better. This should be the main motivation for any form of public service including being a municipal councillor.
2. Willingness to Listen
A willingness to listen to a variety of demands place upon you and your time by individuals and groups in your community. These can range form a local group wanting a recreational grant to someone who is upset over a pothole. It can include a call from a senior who cannot afford to pay the property tax bill or a developer who wants to meet and discuss a planned project. Often these conversations are unplanned and occur when you might least expect it such as in the local grocery store.
You will need time. New councillors underestimate the amount of time that being a councillor requires. In addition to regular council meetings there will be other committee of council that you may be expected to attend and you may be requested to represent your council on external boards such as those of a hospital or a seniors complex. Still the vast majority of councilors in Nova Scotia are part time.
You will need patience. The wheels of government can move slowly. Being focused on what you want to achieve, building support for your ideas on council and in the community will go a long way to achieving what you want to accomplish.
5. Team Player
Recognize that you are part of a team. In fact you are part of many teams. The first team is the council team. As a member of this team you will need to work cooperatively with your fellow councillors. The second team is the municipal team. This includes the council and the municipal staff. While council and staff perform different roles they are both working to the same ends. The third team is the municipal team. Your municipality is one of 55 municipal units in Nova Scotia that together work with the Province of Nova Scotia to help make this Province a great place to live.