Pictured Left to Right: President/CAO Duane Nicol, Past President Nettie Neudorf and Vice President Nicole Chychota
At its recent annual general meeting, members of the Manitoba Municipal Administrators made Selkirk CAO, Duane Nicol their president. Nicol, who has served as the association’s vice-president for the past two years, will serve a two-year term.
Manitoba Municipal Administrators is a professional association established by provincial legislation. The association exists to support the professional development of municipal administrators and advocate for the profession.
Nicol says having the opportunity to serve Manitoba’s local government administrators is both an honour and a great responsibility.
“This organization has existed for over 90 years and has a long history of supporting and growing the capacity, skill, and professionalism of municipal administrators,” Nicol said.
“I’m honoured to be one of the few people to serve in this role, and I’m excited by the opportunity to address the challenges that Manitoba’s local governments face.”
Local government has never been more needed
According to Nicol, municipalities in Manitoba and across Canada are operating in some of the most challenging circumstances seen in generations.
“We are at the forefront of climate change, both in terms of reducing GHG emissions and adapting our communities and infrastructure to be resilient to its impacts. Infrastructure is aging and failing, but our current revenue sources just can’t keep up,” Nicol said.
“We are still dealing with the fall out of COVID-19, and we are seeing the rise of a more vocal, anti-social, anti-government, self-interested populism which we see represented more and more in our citizens, and unfortunately, sometimes the people they elect. We’re doing all of this while the rapid change of technology and the changing expectations of the modern workforce are completely reshaping the workplace.”
Nicol, who teaches Leadership in Municipal Management at the University of Manitoba for the Certified Manitoba Municipal Administrator program, says that local government leadership has never been more needed. Part of his mandate is to continue the evolution of the association to better meet the needs of its members and arm them with the skills needed to overcome the current challenges and help their communities thrive.
“While councils set direction and vision, it is administrators that have the technical skills and experience to develop strategies and policies and implement processes and systems that will deliver on that vision. Councils that are supported by strong administrative teams accomplish more and achieve the strategic outcomes they set out. As president, I want to keep MMA advancing and rising to meet the needs of today’s members. By enhancing the capabilities of municipal administrators, we give councils more tools to strengthen their communities which makes for a more successful Manitoba.”
Selkirk Mayor, Larry Johannson says that he is not surprised by Nicol’s election to the MMA presidency.
“I offer my congratulations to Duane and I know he will be a fantastic leader for the MMA membership,” Johannson said.
“The City of Selkirk and its citizens are fortunate to have Duane as our CAO and his outstanding leadership skills combined with his unique knowledge and insight into municipal government and municipal administration, having three terms on Selkirk council before taking on the CAO position, make him an exceptional administrator. I have all the confidence in the world that Duane will excel in this new role as well.”
Extremely valuable for Selkirk
The new role will put additional responsibilities on to the already busy Nicol, including representing the association across the country as well as with stakeholders in Manitoba. As president, Nicol will also serve on the board of directors for the Association of Manitoba Municipalities.
“It’s going to be more demanding on my time at work and at home. This is only possible because I have such an incredible team in the office and the support of Selkirk council, not to mention my wife, Erin. There is a big benefit to the city as well. Part of my representation of the MMA is attending municipal conferences in other provinces, so there is lots of education and training I will receive at no cost to the city. Also, I have the opportunity to network and build stronger relationships with key stakeholders here in Manitoba and nationally. This is extremely valuable to the city.”