The Chief Administrative Officer is responsible for the proper and efficient administration of the affairs of the City and the management of all City staff. Accordingly, the CAO has adopted 14 basic principles and personal beliefs that are used to guide his actions and those of all City staff in administering the affairs of the City and implementing the direction of City Council. The CAO welcomes comments and observations of City citizens and taxpayers in respect of these all-encompassing philosophies that are listed below. Please feel free to comment on the principles and beliefs by contacting the Chief Administrative Officer at (905) 835-2900 or email@example.com.
1. Primary Rule: 2-point principle
1) Within the law, the Council rules supreme, and
2) If there is any doubt whatsoever, refer to and abide by rule 1. There are no exceptions!
2. A municipality is a corporate entity. It is not governed by individuals but by a simple majority of its elected members (unless otherwise required by law). Council speaks by resolution and acts by By-Law. When the majority directs, speaks or acts, the minority position is to be considered non-consequential and accordingly ignored.
3. It is absolutely imperative that every decision, directive or policy of the Council be supported by all City staff and associates, regardless of personal opinion or perception. In respect of the public, all staff shall present a united and cohesive front in support of Council's initiatives.
4. Every decision that is made by Council is faultless and correct and shall be implemented as efficiently and effectively as possible. There may be rare occasions where a Council decision may be questioned (internally ONLY) for the following reasons:
1) Council may not have received all of the information required,
2) The information available to Council may be biased,
3) Council may not have had sufficient time to digest and understand the information,
4) Some or all of the information filed with Council is flawed or incorrect in respect of the facts.
5) Subject to procedural rules, the CAO may provide Council with revised or new information for reconsideration if considered appropriate for the circumstances.
5. Other than information of a very general nature (coming events etc), all reports, status updates, memorandum and presentations by staff shall be in writing. All reports, memoranda, presentations shall be pre-circulated with agendas or notices to councillors, prior to consideration and nothing shall be "walked" into a meeting by any member of staff except with the approval of the CAO.
6. Council policies are to be considered inflexible. Administration of or compliance with policy in abnormal circumstances or in situations where the application of the specifics of a policy may not be totally applicable, should result in the implementation of the general intent and purpose of Council policy. If policy is unclear, every attempt will be made to seek clarification, in the case of senior management staff, from the CAO and in the case of the CAO, from the Council. No member of staff is at liberty to bend the rules or policies.
7. The line between administration and policy is defined by Council and administered by the CAO. Every employee must consider this line to be fluid and subject to movement and change as Council decides. While administration is generally considered the act of process to implement policy, by virtue of its authority, Council can and will, as it sees appropriate, decide and direct either process or policy or both.
8. Municipal Staff are obligated and have a duty and responsibility to support the Council and to try to provide as much information as is possible to the Council and its members. Innocently, one or more members of Council may request information or suggest an action or process to be taken by staff that may conflict or interfere with the operation of a department or that may impinge on the goals and objectives of the Council. In these cases, such request or suggested action should be referred to the CAO or Council for sanction. The following guidelines will assist staff in this regard:
a) All communications or requests by councillors shall be managed by the appropriate department head. Requests or directives received by support staff shall immediately be referred to the department head. Phone calls, emails or visits from councillors will receive high priority.
b) At times, requests or inquiries by councillors may involve significant work not scheduled in the department.
(i) Requests for information or action expected to exceed one (1) hour, but less than three (3) may be considered by the department head and may result in consultation with the CAO. The CAO will have the discretion of asking the member of Council involved to put his/her request through Council, and
(ii) All requests expected to exceed three (3) hours of staff time or consume equivalent City resources or that require the expenditure of funds must be authorized by Council.
c) For the purpose of this guideline, the lawyer shall be deemed to be a staff member of the CAO's department, the Auditor of the Treasurer's department, contractors or subcontractors of the department responsible for such contract.
9. Generally taxpayers and citizens of the City interact directly and indirectly with City forces, staff and representatives, not necessarily by choice but due to ownership or residency. City staff must be zealous in their treatment of every communication, interaction, relationship and association with citizens. Every ratepayer (some refer to them as clients) must be given absolute attention and treated with the greatest of respect. It is required that every member of staff be courteous, helpful, understanding and considerate of every ratepayer encountered in every circumstance.
10. Budgets are blueprints and can only be changed by resolution of Council. Within these "blueprints", the following principles should apply:
a) Any expenditure above the budgeted value is prohibited without prior approval of the Council/CAO.
b) Revenue shortfalls should be interpreted by department heads to mean that expenditure limits ought to be reduced proportionally despite the approval of the budget/expenditure,
c) Authorizing expenditures or commitments outside or beyond Council approved budget is prohibited. Exceptions to this fundamental principle may be made by the CAO in the event of an emergency or by the CAO where the City's resources (physical, financial or otherwise) are subject to risk and may be significantly disadvantaged. In any event, Council shall be advised of the circumstances. Where possible, prior approval of Council shall be obtained.
d) Substitution of one budget for another without prior notice and approval of the CAO is prohibited.
11. All reports, memos, updates, or other written submissions including any new, expanded or altered initiative or policy to be presented to and considered by Council shall be reviewed by the CAO prior to submission to Council. To eliminate potential interdepartmental competition for resources, "back-door politicking" is strictly prohibited. "Back-door politicking" is the act of promoting, advancing or supporting a department or personal point of view with one or more individual members of Council. "Back-door politicking" is divisive and counterproductive and must be avoided at all costs.
12. The City's Official Plan, Recreation Master Plan, Roads Needs Studies and Servicing Master Plans, Council Strategic Plan, Financial Plans among others contain a plethora of both short term and long term strategies. The implementation of these strategies is a public and private responsibility. The execution of these strategies is also dependent on Regional, Provincial, Federal and Global initiatives and financial policies. Despite the seemingly "out-of-reach" (uncontrollable) aspect of the forces affecting the City strategies, every department should work towards their implementation. Where any initiative, decision, directive, or other consideration involves the commitment or dedication of City resources, financial or otherwise, every such proposal or scheme shall be in accordance with City Council's plans and visions.
13. At least once every year or in response to changes and differing circumstances, more often as needed, every department shall develop objectives, goals and implementation plans consistent with and complementary to Council's strategies, plans and objectives. Every objective and goal should be measurable and quantifiable.
14. Every employee shall develop personal and professional goals to complement the department objectives and intentions. Every personal goal should be measurable and quantifiable.