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The Municipal Councillor's Handbook

{Dr. Peter Boswell}
Dr. Peter Boswell

By Dr. Peter Boswell
Dr. Peter Boswell, head of Memorial's Department of Political Science, has written the second edition of the very valuable tool community leaders throughout the province can consult daily for information about conduct, rules and responsibilities of municipal government.

The Municipal Councillor's Handbook follows in the tradition of the very successful 1987 first edition which aimed to "transform the legal language of municipal legislation into more understandable terms for everyday use." The handbook is a reference guide written expressly for those citizens who have been elected to serve in the best interests of their community. The 1999 revision of the Municipalities Act necessitated a new edition.

Dr. Boswell has included a brief record of Newfoundland municipal government. According to his text, the years 1955-1970 saw a tremendous acceleration of growth of municipalities in Newfoundland. Before this period, creations of new municipalities throughout the province were contained to only a very "slow growth."

As well, Dr. Boswell enumerates several widely-accepted theories behind the importance of local governments. Many contend that "local government is the basis of democracy," and thus "provides the basis for democracy at higher levels of government." The second theory states that being a member of local government provides training for those individuals who later pursue a higher level of political participation. However, Dr. Boswell emphasizes that municipal government's most important role is the provision of services. In interacting daily with citizens, and learning their particular needs, local governments provide a much more effective allocation of resources than would be done by the provincial government.

The handbook was written to complement and not to substitute the 1999 Municipalities Act. Commenting on the provincial government's commitment to enhance local government legislation, Oliver Langdon, minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, notes in his foreword that the handbook "reflects ... the modern expectations of municipal representatives." To that end, Dr. Boswell has divided the book into discrete sections so that councillors may reference relevant information quickly. With answers readily available for any query a councillor may have about his or her duties, the handbook enables municipal representatives to better perform their job, which thus creates a greater sense of civic awareness and pride in all citizens.

The Municipal Councillor's Handbook is published by the Municipal Training and Development Corporation.

[Image of Book Cover]

{Memorial University of Newfoundland}