SARM Calls for More Education and Supports for Municipal Leaders

The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), alongside their member RMs, share concern over the lack of resources and education available for elected officials in municipal government. The councillors and reeves who oversee rural municipalities (RMs) are the hands-on, ground-level people who serve rural Saskatchewan. They support and build economic sustainability in small communities throughout the province.

“Our municipal leaders are in a vulnerable position: they work, live, and raise families in the RMs they represent, and sometimes the backlash of a decision affects their personal lives. It can sometimes be considered a thankless job, as they often face negative criticism and field ongoing complaints. Without training and ongoing mentoring, municipal government positions become challenging,” says Ray Orb, president of SARM.

SARM supports the Targeted Sector Support program funding which assists in inter-community collaboration, helps build capacity, and promotes good governance, but at the same time, encourages the province to provide specific training targeted at individual councils. SARM advocates for more training for elected officials in municipalities in the fields of human resource management, budget planning, and leadership. If investments are made in municipal leaders, they will positively shape rural communities for the next decade or more. The roles and responsibilities of municipal leaders look different depending on size, therefore, specific training geared towards leaders in rural areas is crucial.

SARM is working to create positive change not only in rural communities but also in the next generation of councillors and administrators. Many communities are at a tipping point and want to engage in proactive conversation about how to move forward. Municipal government has great potential to make real change for the future of rural communities.

“Good people are giving up countless hours of free service to make our rural municipalities thrive. It is time we offer up training and support,” explains Orb.

It is time to shift perspective and engage in meaningful dialogue to develop better working relationships within councils and rural communities. SARM needs to see more support for municipal governing bodies and wants the provincial government to assist in developing and promoting programs that directly apply to rural Saskatchewan council, mentorship, continuous education, and enhancing the experience of municipal government.

SARM invites more conversation with our delegates and leaders during our convention in Regina, on March 13th-15th, to better the future of rural municipalities.

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For interview requests please contact:

Amy Roettger
Communications & Events Coordinator, Sr, SARM or 306.761.3730

Rustie Dean
Media Liaison, SARM

Background: SARM is the independent association representing rural municipalities in Saskatchewan, serving as the primary advocate for its members before senior governments. SARM invites provincial news agencies to join us at convention as representatives from rural Saskatchewan municipalities converge to discuss and debate timely topics, elect officials, and hear the critical issues of Saskatchewan’s rural members. For more information on the convention (including an agenda and registration link) SARM Annual Convention.