Ahead of their annual convention in Regina next week, the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities is expressing concerns about a lack of resources and education that is made available to elected officials who work in municipal government.  

“We’ve done some capacity work with a company here in Saskatchewan, and we’ve done a lot of surveying as well, and we found that a fairly common theme is some of the rural elected officials feel that they do need some extra training,” said Ray Orb. He is the president of SARM.  

The provincial government does currently offer the Targeted Sector Support program, which provides funding for things such as community collaboration and good governance, and helps build capacity. Some of the recently announced projects under the program included governance training for the R.M. of Lajord, funding for the Southeast Saskatchewan Municipal Engagement and Asset Mapping Platform Project for the R.M. of Reciprocity, and funding for the development of a combined digital safety manual for the R.M. of Montmartre.  

SARM is calling for the province to enhance the programs available, including specific training targeted at individual councils. As well, they would like to see more training in the fields of human resource management, budget planning, and leadership.  

“Because of the changing times we’re in, we just feel that there should be more capacity for development there for our members,” Orb explained.  

The issue is likely to be brought up in more than one instance when SARM holds the convention that starts in Regina next Wednesday. The convention will include the introduction of resolutions, presentations by Premier Scott Moe and opposition NDP leader Carla Beck, and the anticipated bear pit session on Thursday afternoon.