Municipal Leadership Essentials: A Guide to Good Governance

Empowered leadership is about making confident decisions. Having the information and knowledge you need is key to building that confidence. Want to feel comfortable and confident in your decision making as a municipal councillor or administrator? Sign up for our online course, Municipal Leadership Essentials: A Guide to Good Governance.

Developed in partnership with College of the North Atlantic, Municipal Leadership Essentials: A Guide to Good Governance is a multiple-module online course in municipal leadership.

Registration is now open.

Cost: $1750 per person. Note: this program is eligible for matched funding

This online course was developed in partnership with Professional Municipal Administrators of Newfoundland and Labrador and College of the North Atlantic and will help you fulfill your responsibilities as a municipal councillor, encouraging active, engaged, and successful communities. The course is designed to build capacity in all Newfoundland and Labrador municipal councillors and is intended for all municipal councils, councillors, and administrators regardless of their experience in local government.

The course follows the information published in the Municipal Council Handbook. Each module will take one week to complete, including 90 minutes of online instruction in addition to reading and online quizzes and projects.

Course Outline

  • Overview of Municipal Government

    • Background to local government
    • Relationship to other levels of government
    • Relevant legislation
    • Introduction to municipal responsibilities
  • Councillor and Council Roles and Responsibilities

    • Functions of municipal councillors and their obligations to council
    • The role of mayor and deputy mayor
    • Liabilities of council and councillors
    • Conflict of interest
    • The role of town administrators; the policy function of council
  • Roles and Responsibilities of Staff and Human Resources

    • Defining the position of municipal administrator
    • Clerk and town manager roles
    • Human resource policy and collective bargaining
    • Council’s obligation to staff under various legislation
  • Council and the Conduct of Business

    • Rules of procedure
    • Types of council meeting
    • Process of calling a meeting, preparing the meeting agenda
    • How to conduct a council meeting: motions, debate, voting
  • Council as Policy Maker, Regulator and Planner

    • Introduction to the public policy process
    • Council policy approaches
    • The value of a municipal plan
    • The distinction between regulations, resolutions, and other decisions of council
  • Council Budgeting and Financial Administration

    • The importance of sound financial planning
    • Municipal budget template
    • Sources of revenue and allowable taxes and fees
    • Types of expenditure
    • Procurement and compliance with the Public Procurement Act
  • Council Communications and Citizen and Stakeholder Engagement

    • Supporting accountability, transparency and engagement with residents, staff, organizations and partners
  • Council and Good Governance

    • Best practices in municipal administration
    • The importance of long-term strategic planning
    • Effective Project Management
    • Managing risk and mitigating threats to the community and municipal government
  • Municipal Financing and Other Council Resources

    • An overview of municipal financial programs, including the Gas Tax Fund and Municipal Capital Works
    • Available supports from the federal and provincial governments
    • Other programs and resources related to municipal government and administration

About the Instructor

Chris Adams is an award-winning educator with international and local teaching and coaching experience. He holds certifications in executive, leadership, and positive psychology-based coaching, as well as TESOL and safety training, and has worked with learners of all ages and experience levels. This has included high-level executives in Global 500 companies, refugees, new Canadians, children, and CNA and MUN post-secondary students in both in-person and online environments.

Since 2021 he has worked with MNL staff and CNA instructors and students as MNL’s Work-Integrated Learning Coordinator to create win-win projects that give students meaningful learning experiences while providing valuable opportunities for municipalities to benefit from the work and knowledge of N.L.’s postsecondary students and institutions.

While serving as an elected municipal councillor, Chris served as the Head of Public Works, and on Finance, Trail, and Community Development Committees.

He is now grateful for this opportunity to help municipal councillors gain the knowledge and skills necessary to serve their communities by working within a forward-thinking municipal council based on respect, reason, research, and regulation 

When not serving students and municipalities, he enjoys working in film and television as an actor and technician, as a singer-songwriter-musician, as a mineral prospector, and by exploring and photographing this beautiful province.

Payment Options

Payment can be made by cheque or credit card. Payment must be received by the start of the course. After registering, you will be contacted with payment details. No refunds will be provided once training begins.

Questions? Get in Touch

If you have questions about the course, please contact Bradley Power, MNL director of programs by email at

Course Registration

To register, complete the registration form below.

After registering, you will receive an email with additional information, including a detailed registration form for the college and links to login online for the training. Registration is required in advance. A maximum of 25 individuals will be accepted per course offering. Virtual attendance is limited to only those registered.