Position Profile


Job Title:  Coordinator, Municipal Inspections

Work Unit:  MSL/MSB/Capacity Building Unit

Ministry:   Alberta Municipal Affairs

Competition Number:  1041513

Date:  April 2017
 

Purpose

 

Reporting to the Manager, Municipal Advisory, the Coordinator, Municipal Inspections has primary responsibility for the legislated municipal inspection and inquiry process from initiation through to completion. The inspection and inquiry process, established by the Municipal Government Act (MGA), can be initiated through a petition of municipal elector, a council request, or by the Minister if serious concerns exist.

The Coordinator, Municipal Inspections will lead in the fulfillment of the department’s legislated responsibility to determine the validity of the petition or request, undertake a preliminary investigation on the merits of the concerns, and recommend appropriate responses to the Minister. If the Minister orders an inspection, the Coordinator, Municipal Inspections is responsible to scope the inspection requirements and timelines; evaluate and retain a qualified inspector; coordinate the initiation of the inspection or inquiry; manage the delivery of contracted services; respond to questions and concerns of the contractor and the municipality, resolve any issues that arise throughout the process; review the draft inspection or inquiry report; prepare recommendations to the Minister based on the report; prepare recommendations for directives to be ordered by the Minister; coordinate the presentation of the inspection or inquiry report to council and the public; on behalf of the department, attend the council and public presentation of the report, deliver the Minister’s correspondence, communicate on the directives ordered by the Minister, and respond to council and public questions about the inspection or inquiry process or directives; monitor and assess subsequent compliance with ministerial directives and prepare related correspondence and recommendations on further compliance enforcement to the Minister; and prepare recommendations to the Minister regarding the municipality’s completion of the directives.

The inspection or inquiry process is subject to intense public and media scrutiny at a local, provincial, and sometimes national level. Throughout the process, the Coordinator, Municipal Inspections is responsible to anticipate council, public and media responses related to the inspection or inquiry, to support related department communication activities, to respond to public telephone calls regarding the inspection or inquiry, and to prepare related correspondence and internal briefings as well as work with the department Communications Branch for development of communication strategies and plans. The issues that give rise to inspections or inquiries can be contentious and divisive, and the Coordinator, Municipal Inspections must consider these sensitivities in responding to inquiries and in preparing correspondence and briefings.

The level of public scrutiny over inspections can often result in requests for access to information under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPP). The Coordinator, Municipal Inspections is responsible to assemble information and coordinate responses related to these requests.

The inspection or inquiry process, and the process of issuing and ensuring compliance with directives, is also subject to legal challenges due to the often contentious and divisive nature of the subject matter. The Coordinator, Municipal Inspections is responsible to consider and manage, including obtaining advice from Justice and Solicitor General where appropriate, the legal risks involved in the conduct of inspections and inquiries and to address these risks in preparing related briefings and correspondence. In the event of litigation, the Coordinator works with the legal team when preparing the case.

The MGA is the second largest piece of legislation in the Province of Alberta. The Coordinator, Municipal Inspections is an MGA expert and expert on legislation impacting municipalities as well as administrative and governance procedures. This specialized expertise is used throughout the inspection or inquiry process.

Another unique responsibility of this position is tracking municipal official’s knowledge and capacity gap trends from data including, but not limited to, municipal inspection reports and municipal corporate review and being project manager of the cyclical municipal administrators’ survey. This position contributes to the Ministry’s development and delivery of training to elected and appointed municipal officials to effectively plan and govern according to the processes and procedures in provincial legislation and according to recognized effective municipal governance, management, and operational best practices.

The Coordinator is also a member of an advisory team which has key day to day “first contact” with the public, municipal administrators and councillors, other department and associations. This role strengthens the capacity and sustainability of Alberta municipalities, enhances municipal operational effectiveness and aids in building the level of understanding and confidence that Albertans have with the local government by providing advice and information to elected and appointed municipal officials and to the public.

This position also deals with departmental, municipal and public concerns regarding practices of municipal government and, where required, uses appropriate departmental regulatory powers to address municipal issues to enhance local government transparency and accountability to their citizens and the province.

This position performs work in accordance with relevant government and ministry legislation, regulations, policies and guidelines and at times, significant travel is required to provide training or advisory visits.

The outcomes supported by this position will contribute to the strategic direction of the Division and Ministry by informing of the development of priorities, policies, processes and legislative requirements. This position initiates and leads change processes that result in municipal governance legislation being aligned with new business directions and interprets Government and Ministry business plan goals into legislation.

This position requires a professional approach and diplomacy skills to operate in a highly political and sensitive environment, combined with a need for unique technical expertise. The outcome will be viable municipalities and communities with responsible, collaborative and accountable local governments.

Responsibilities and Activities

  1.

Provide leadership and oversight of municipal inspections from initiation through to the completion of the inspection process following provincial and ministry procurement policies and following legislation outlined in the Municipal Government Act (MGA).  

Activities:

  • Primary point of contact for council, administration and the public for any inspection or inquiry requests to ensure they understand the applicable legislative requirements and processes.
  • Carry out the legislated responsibilities of the “Chief Administrative Officer” to determine a petition sufficiency if a petition is received under the MGA and report to the Minister within the prescribed timelines, including recommendations for the Minister’s response to the petition.
  • In response to requests for inquiries or inspections, independently interact with external and internal stakeholders to lead any preliminary review or similar assessments of council and administrative practices, to investigate and analyze findings to formulate advice to the Minister on the merits of whether not an inspection under section 571 of the Municipal Government Act may be warranted or if other responses may be more appropriate.
    • This includes coordinating and conducting background research and analysis including obtaining stakeholder input through direct interviews to be used to write reports to the Minister containing an assessment of the issues and an analysis of facts.
    • Using the expert level of knowledge of the MGA, which is the second largest piece of Alberta legislation, effectively and appropriately develop directives when warranted, for the Minister’s consideration and approval.
  • As the Contract Manager, lead the procurement process for contracting inspection services, in compliance with the Government of Alberta, Ministry and AB Centre of Excellence procurement policies and contract management requirements.
  • In all inspection files, independently serve as the primary contact for inspectors, providing initial orientation as required, providing advice when requested, and monitoring the inspection process to ensure adherence with contract and project timelines.
  • While applying due diligence and in-depth knowledge of legislation and municipal governance and management, lead the internal review and analysis process of inspection results to formulate advice for senior management and the Minister on post-inspection actions.
    • This includes the review and synthesizing of information and results ensuring that recommendations are made exercising fair, equitable and correct decisions that are within legislated authority.
  • Coordinate the presentation of the inspection or inquiry report to council and the public, including attendance at the council and public presentation of the report and on behalf of the department, delivery of the Minister’s correspondence, communication on the Minister’s decision or the directives ordered by the Minister, and responding to council and public questions about the inspection or inquiry process or directives.
  • Support department communication activities with respect to inspections or inquiries including responding to public telephone calls regarding inspections or inquiries and preparing related correspondence and internal briefings.
  • Assemble information and coordinate responses to applications under FOIPP for information about inspections or inquires or procurement and contract management issues.
  • Consider and manage, including obtaining advice from Justice and Solicitor General where appropriate, the legal risks involved in the conduct of inspections and inquiries, and address these risks in preparing related briefings and correspondence.
  • Where required, and in the event of litigation, work with the legal team to prepare and coordinate the assembly of information required to support defence against legal challenges related to an inspection or inquiry.
  • Work closely with the department Communication Branch for media response and questions as well as the development of communication and strategy plans for politically sensitive or controversial inspections or inquiries.

End Results:

  • Municipal governance, administration and the overall accountability of municipalities is enhanced.
  • Ensures integrity in all aspects of the procurement practices, contract management and tracking of the records to facilitate production of records of proceedings for potential litigation or full disclosure of documents when responding to information requests made through the FOIPP.
  • Confidence in the integrity of the decision making process resulting in the Minister ordering an inspection and the appointment of inspectors.
     
  2.

Provide post inspection monitoring and support through ministerial directive compliance and enforcement and ongoing advice and assistance to municipalities.

Activities:

  • In all inspection files, serve as the post-inspection support for council and administration.
  • Develop and implement procedures for a post inspection monitoring and follow up for inspections not resulting in directives.
  • Develop and implement active tracking procedures for the timely and accurate status of ministerial directives, to ensure compliance with reporting requirements and deadlines through analysis of monthly reports and ongoing liaison with senior municipal administration.
    • This includes both reactive and proactive tracking of the status of council and chief administrative officer’s actions towards completing directives, evaluating and analyzing actions reported by the municipality to ensure the directives are completed to the satisfaction of the Minister. In some instances, travel may be required throughout the province to follow up in person.
    • This also includes regular direct contact with the stakeholder to provide clear, concise advice to ensure correct information is received so the municipality has the details necessary to complete directives to the satisfaction of the Minister. This process is critical as the failure to complete directives may result in the dismissal of a council member, all of council or the chief administrative officer.
  • Proactively identify for senior management and the minister any compliance deficiencies and recommend appropriate mitigation actions required which may result in the Minister issuing additional directives, dismissing a local elected official or dismissing all of council, or dismissing the chief administrative officer.
  • Ensure proper inspection completion is documented and communicated to the municipality when a council has implemented or completed all directives to ensure closure to the inspection process.
    • This also includes solid records management practices to be able to effectively respond to formal information requests through the FOIPP office as well as working with Legal Services for the organized reproduction of records of proceedings for any potential litigation.

End Results:

  • Consistency in the post inspection compliance monitoring and enforcement.
  • Strong stakeholder relations to support the capacity of municipalities to complete directives or implement inspection report recommendations.
     
  3.

Ensure municipalities are governed and managed in accordance with legislation by contributing to the development and delivery of ministry programs, services and training to elected and appointed municipal officials.

Activities:

  • In collaboration with representatives from ministry divisions and branches, lead the Municipal Affairs municipal administrator survey which includes survey design that maintains the statistical validity and integrity of multi-year demographic and historical data while working with units across the Branch or Ministry to also survey the effectiveness of current ministry programs or services.
    • This also includes managing the procurement process with external contractors, preparing requests for proposals and managing the process of evaluating and hiring contractors and managing the project and contract, deliverables and external communications with stakeholders party to the survey.
  • Monitor and scan environment on an ongoing basis to identify potential policy issues or pressure points.
  • Collect, analyze and interpret data by tracking municipal official’s knowledge and capacity gap trends from data including, but not limited to, undertaking cyclical municipal administrator surveys, analysis of trends identified in municipal inspection reports and municipal corporate reviews and other applicable information sources,
    • This includes evaluating results and writing or coordinating the compilation and delivery of reports which will be used to make adjustments to ministry programs, services and training sessions or resources to best serve the requirements and needs of stakeholders. The data analysis and report may also that identify policy issues for more in-depth consideration.
    • This can lead to preparing written reports/option papers/discussion papers and briefing materials with recommendations for senior management and the Minister.

End Results:

  • Responsive and timely programs and services.
     
  4.

Strengthen the capacity and sustainability of municipalities by enhancing local governance and administration knowledge, and elector understanding of local governance through providing advice, information and direct training to elected and appointed municipal officials and to the public.

Activities:

  • Drawing from the specialized knowledge and experience, work collaboratively with the advisory team to delivering training within the local government context for municipal councils, individual councillors and/or administrators on legislation, effective management, information and practices, and upon request where appropriate, develop presentation materials and deliver customized training.
  • Responding to telephone and written inquiries and complaints regarding the practice of municipal government.
  • Visiting municipalities to provide governance expertise and information to councils and to new municipal administrators.
  • Interpreting and explaining provincial legislation, regulations and procedural requirements for municipal officials and other stakeholders, especially with regard to governance and administrative procedures, processes and including local government elections.
  • Providing information and feedback on legislative requirements and keep up to date on legislative amendments and municipal issues.

End Results:

  • Municipalities providing accountable, transparent governance in a manner that is responsive to their electors and communities being governed in a manner that citizens deserve and expect.
     
  5.

Be responsive to the ministry, elected officials and public by providing accurate and timely responses to ministerial assignments, including correspondence, briefing notes, and action requests, are prepared for the signature of the Minister, Deputy Minister, and Assistant Deputy Minister, ensuring consistent communication of key messages; appropriateness of contents for identified audiences; and compliance with relevant government and ministry legislation, policies and procedures.

Activities:

  • Researching and verifying facts and information associated with assignments.
  • Composing responses, considering the author’s style and position and ensuring consistency, clarity, conciseness and accuracy of messages.
  • Ensuring Ministry positions and relevant sector program area policies and procedures are accurately reflected in responses and materials.
  • Organizing and tracking assignments to completion

End Results:

  • Timely and relevant response to requests for information or advice.
     
  6.

Support ministry initiatives, programs and services by actively participating in departmental activities related to enhancing service provision to ensure alignment of the department’s strategic vision.

Activities:

  • Working collaboratively with other Department staff in the delivery of programs and services
  • Leading and/or participating in special project development, design and delivery
  • Participating in the evaluation and development of Best Practices in the delivery of Department programs and services
  • Participating in Department committees and initiatives

End Results:

  • Effective integration of activities within the unit and within the department business plan.

Scope

 

This position operates in a highly complex and politically sensitive environment. The position is responsible for all matters related to inspections and identification of irregular, improper or improvident governance and management of municipalities. The severity of non-compliance with minister ordered directives may be as extreme as the dismissal of a member of council or all of council or the chief administrative officer so the utmost degree of professionalism, due diligence and application of principles of natural justice are critical.

The inspection or inquiry process is subject to intense public and media scrutiny at a local, provincial, and sometimes national level. The issues that give rise to inspections or inquiries can be contentious and divisive, and the Coordinator, Municipal Inspections must consider these sensitivities in responding to inquiries and in preparing correspondence and briefings.

The inspection or inquiry process, and the process of issuing and ensuring compliance with directives, is also subject to legal challenges due to the often contentious and divisive nature of the subject matter. The Coordinator, Municipal Inspections is responsible to consider and manage, including obtaining advice from Justice and Solicitor General where appropriate, the legal risks involved in the conduct of inspections and inquiries and to address these risks in preparing related briefings and correspondence.

Municipal residents expect a degree of professional leadership from municipal officials. Conflicting understanding of municipal authorities, public expectation and governance and administrative duties have resulted in a significant increase in requests for the Minister to intervene to ensure proper governance and compliance with legislation. The province places a priority on accountable, transparent, responsive local governments and the ministry has a requirement for a specialized focus on governance and administrative accountability with a primary focus on the Municipal Government Act.

The Coordinator, Municipal Inspections:

  • Is the only provincial dedicated contact and key advisor for municipal inquiries or inspections.
  • Needs to understand how the various provincial acts and regulations impact municipal governance and operations. This requires an in-depth familiarity with the operation of municipalities and interrelationships with other ministries and levels of government.
  • Works with complex, highly sensitive, and interdependent issues.
  • Is required to work with a high degree of autonomy while functioning in a team environment with colleagues.
  • Determines actions and next steps and develops work and resourcing plans, and
  • Develops networks and relationships with officials involved in inspection processes.

This position is part of a team and will use their specialized knowledge and experience to work collaboratively with other advisors and staff from across the ministry to provide accurate, consistent and clear information with an aim at helping municipal officials be successful in providing effective leadership in their communities. The work completed by the Coordinator, Municipal Inspections impacts ministry and provincial strategies and policies effecting Alberta local governments’.

Complexity of advisory supports varies greatly and requests for information are received from all levels, both internal to the ministry and external. The Coordinator provides quality information, advice and training and monitoring on a broad range of municipal issues to internal and external stakeholders which will influence the management, governance and operations of municipalities and ultimately the sustainability and resiliency of local governments in Alberta.

The incumbent is often the first contact for issues with political, legal or financial consequence so the initial contact may require providing advice to senior department management regarding appropriate future actions. In working with inspectors and municipalities, the senior advisor is familiar with strengths and weaknesses of specific municipalities and is in a unique position to offer advice and support that can enhance the capacity and long-term viability of the municipality. The support can result in improved delivery of municipal services and improved local government for Albertans.

Actions taken when acting in an official capacity as appointed by the Minister means the advisor must be aware of the capacity of administration and council, the local government environment in the community, the dynamics within and between council and administration, the interest of local MLAs, the interest of local media and the severity of the nature of the issues the municipality is facing.

The advisor works consultatively and is able to establish good working relationships with stakeholders. The incumbent is able to problem-solve using sound judgment and thorough analysis of options within the broader context of other stakeholder and government policies, priorities and legislation. Urgent or complex issues are managed in consultation with the Manager or Director.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

 

Knowledge:

  • Comprehensive knowledge of provincial legislation applicable to municipalities such as the Municipal Government Act, and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and their regulations, with specific emphasis on the roles and responsibilities of council and administration
  • Comprehensive knowledge of effective management practices and municipal operation and administration
  • Comprehensive knowledge of effective governance and management practices, procedures within a municipal government environment
  • In-depth knowledge of municipal government trends and emerging issues, trends, and best practices in local government
  • Good knowledge of other legislation and regulations applicable to municipalities
  • Good knowledge of administrative law and principles of natural justice
  • Working knowledge of divisional, departmental and governmental goals and objectives
  • Working knowledge of different conflict resolution, negotiation and mediation processes
  • Experience with information and data analysis an asset
  • Experience with procurement practices and contract management is an asset

Skills and abilities:

  • Leadership skills to formulate policies, develop and articulate vision, manage complex issues, and direct diverse programs to achieve success;
  • Interpersonal, relationship management, and communication skills to consult and negotiate with senior stakeholder, client, and government representatives with varying perspectives, expectations, and priorities;
  • Influencing and conflict resolution skills to promote innovation, build consensus, and motivate others to accept and adopt new concepts;
  • Conceptual, critical, and analytical thinking and problem solving skills to analyze information and risks and promote decisions in alignment with Ministry and Government business plan goals;
  • Verbal and written communication skills to develop and deliver presentations to key decision makers and stakeholders;
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to work independently;
  • Commitment to continuous improvement and innovation;
  • Excellent conceptual, analytical, critical thinking, and problem solving skills with abilities to analyze information, identify key issues and develop responses and solutions on own initiative;  
  • Ability to collaborate with a team to develop an idea from the conceptual stage through to implementation, to translate concepts and objectives into clear and meaningful policy or program proposals; and
  • Ability to deal tactfully and confidentially with sensitive political issues.

Formal Qualifications:

  • University degree in a related field plus 4 years progressively responsible related experience; or equivalent as described below.
    Equivalency: Directly related education or experience considered on the basis of:
    • 1 year of education for 1 year of experience; or
    • 1 year of experience for 1 year of education.
  • Previous municipal government experience, at a senior management level is required.
  • Certificate in local government from the University of Alberta Extension program or equivalent; or the National Advanced Certificate in Local Authority Administration, or equivalent is required.
  • Designation of CLGM (Certified Local Government Manager) or an equivalent professional designation or eligibility for a professional designation is required.

Contacts

 
  • Minister, Deputy Minister and other elected officials: Advise on emerging issues that may require immediate attention. Clarify legislative or procedural requirements as they arise, or when requested.
  • Senior Departmental Management: Obtain background information, direction and timelines related to project, issues, action requests and other duties. Advise on upcoming issues, project status and other matter that may require management input.
  • Provincial colleagues: Obtain advice from Justice and Solicitor General as appropriate regarding management of legal risks associated with inspections and inquiries. Collaborate with, and provide guidance to, staff on legislative and procedural requirements relating to municipal governance and management. Provide timely information and advice on projects, issues and policies.
  • Municipal Advisory Staff: Collaborate with and provide guidance to staff on legislative and procedural requirements relating to municipal governance and management.
  • Other LGS/AMA Staff: Collaborate with and provide guidance to staff on legislative, policy and procedural requirements relating to municipal management.
  • Municipal Officials: Provide timely advice and information regarding municipal governance, management and legislative requirements.
  • Municipal Associations: Provide timely advice and information regarding municipal governance and management. Consult and collaborate on proposed modifications to legislative requirements. Attend meetings/conferences to address issues and delivery training. Attend meeting/conferences to address issues and deliver training.
  • Professional Associations: Advise and provide legislative and procedural information and training when requested. Participate in a professional capacity.
  • Municipal Staff: Advise and provide timely procedural information and training when requested.
  • Private Consultants: Advise and provide procedural information when requested. Obtain contracted expertise on projects where required. Direct and work with consultants on projects when required.
  • General Public: Provide advice and information regarding municipal governance and management.

Supervision Exercised

 
  • There are no direct reports to this position although indirectly the incumbent would oversee other Municipal Advisors assisting with completion of preliminary reviews or assessments as well as managing work completed by contract personnel.

 

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