Police pay increases will be one of the issues raised by a Maple Creek delegation at a major meeting of municipalities next month.
The hope is to shift the financial burden from municipalities to the federal government.
Another hot-button topic is safe healthcare staffing levels.
Up to six people from the Town of Maple Creek have been authorized to go to the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) convention and tradeshow 2022 in Regina from April 3-6. They include Michelle McKenzie, the Mayor, who is the Southwest director of SUMA; Kerrie Chabot, the Chief Executive Officer; and Councillors Tina Cresswell, Cara Teichroeb and Jill Roy. Gavin Graves, the director of operations will attend the April 4 tradeshow. The group will return on the evening of April 6.
Councillor Al Fournier will be attending via Zoom.
Speaking after last Tuesday’s Town Council meeting, McKenzie mentioned two of the issues that the delegation would be raising. One related to policing, now that the RCMP had become unionized.
Last year, the National Police Federation negotiated a pay increase for its members, including retroactive raises. It was the first collective bargaining agreement the union had negotiated since its formation.
Although local governments were not involved in the process, they are affected financially.
“I don’t think the province or the municipalities should have to be on the hook for their increases in their wages or their back pay,” said McKenzie. “I think the federal government needs to be stepping up and paying that.”
McKenzie said safe staffing levels at hospitals and care homes was an issue that she had been raising over the last eight years.
“I want the province to have safe staffing levels,” she said.
McKenzie added there was a resistance to setting safe staffing levels because of a lack of knowledge about what it takes to run a hospital or care home.
“Well, I’m telling you one CCA (Continuing Care Assistant) to 10 patients is not a safe staffing level.”
The theme of this year’s convention is Connect: Connect with your council, connect with your peers, connect with SUMA, connect with vendors at the Municipal Marketplace, and connect with provincial leaders.
The venues are the Queensbury Convention Centre and International Trade Centre.
Events include a series on webinar/workshops covering such subjects as “Municipal Economic Development Fundamentals”, “Human Resources in the Municipal Workplace”, “Strategic and Financial Planning for Municipalities”, “Public Relations and Communications for Municipalities”, “Fall Prevention (Fall Arrest)”, “Ground Disturbance for Supervisors and Workers”, and “Good Governance Series – Maintaining Health Communities through a Cohesive Council”.
An election for SUMA president will take place on April 5 during the convention. It will be done through an online voting platform where eligible voters will log in to cast their votes.
Nominations for president have closed. Two candidates are running to represent Saskatchewan’s hometowns: Mayor Kyle Bennett, the Mayor Shaunavon, who was first elected to council through a by-election in 2011; and Councillor Randy Goulden, who has been elected to Yorkton City Council six times since 1997 and was first elected to the SUMA board in 200.
At the 2020 convention in Regina, it was announced that SUMA was rebranding to Municipalities of Saskatchewan. The organization, which represents cities, towns, villages, resort villages and northern municipalities in Saskatchewan, said it wanted to broaden its membership.
However, when it came to a vote, 75 per cent of members opposed the change.