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What is the difference between a resolution and a request for decision?

AUMA invites our Regular Members to submit resolutions to our Annual Convention and requests for decisions (RFDs) to Municipal Leaders Caucus that ask AUMA to take action on issues of common concern to Alberta municipalities. Not sure whether you should submit a resolution or a RFD? Read on!

Resolutions

Resolutions are one way that the AUMA Board or members can propose actions or policies for our membership to consider. Resolutions that are passed by members set the direction for AUMA’s advocacy efforts over the next three years.

AUMA’s Resolutions Policy  outlines the formal process for submitting, reviewing, publishing, debating, amending, and voting on resolutions. This year, the deadline for submitting a resolution along with proof of council approval to resolutions@auma.ca is May 31. AUMA has developed a guide and template to help municipalities with the resolutions process. 

After resolutions are submitted, AUMA’s Municipal Governance Committee reviews and categorizes them. The committee also identifies any deficiencies and analyzes how the proposed resolutions align with existing AUMA policies. Deficiencies refer to issues such as unclear or incorrect statements as outlined in section 17 of the Resolutions Policy. AUMA administration then works with the sponsoring municipality to address these deficiencies.

The final resolutions are then compiled and published in a Resolutions Book that is distributed to members eight weeks prior to Convention. Municipalities are encouraged to carefully review the resolutions and consider which ones they will support.

AUMA’s resolution policy also sets out a process and criteria for municipalities to submit extraordinary resolutions that deal with matters of an urgent nature arising after the resolution deadline.

AUMA holds a resolutions session at each Annual Convention where sponsoring municipalities speak to their resolutions and members debate their merit. There is a formal process for amendments, and every elected official in attendance from a Regular AUMA member may vote via an electronic voting system. In 2017, over 800 voting delegates were eligible to participate in the resolutions session.

Most adopted resolutions focus on a request for action by the provincial and/or federal government, and are submitted to the relevant ministries following Convention. Based on the topic of the resolution, the appropriate AUMA standing committee reviews the government’s response, and then recommends whether AUMA should accept the response or take further action. AUMA keeps members up to date on the status of resolutions through the resolutions library. Resolutions are active for three years, and at the end of the three years, AUMA informs the sponsoring municipality of the resolution’s outcome.

Resolutions tend to have a higher profile than RFDs, because they are discussed at Annual Conventions, which have a higher member turnout than Municipal Leaders’ Caucus, and also because of the formal process involved in their adoption and implementation.

Requests for Decisions

RFDs enable municipalities to bring forward emerging issues that cannot wait to be debated at Convention. While RFDs also allow the AUMA Board and members to propose actions or policies for membership to consider, the RFD process is less formal than the resolutions process.

The process for RFDs is outlined in AUMA’s Municipal Leaders’ Caucus Policy. AUMA has developed a RFD Template which members can fill out and submit along with proof of council endorsement to Rachel de Vos, by May 25 for Summer Municipal Leaders’ Caucus, which takes place June 12 to 14, in Camrose.

Members attend only one day of Summer Caucus, according to their municipality's population size, and RFDs are only discussed on the day corresponding to the size of the sponsoring municipality. RFDs are shared with members via the Digest one week before Caucus. At Caucus, the sponsoring municipality speaks to its RFD, and members in attendance are then invited to share their views and ask questions. The sponsor may agree to revise the originally proposed action as a result of the discussion. Members vote on the RFD by show of hands, with each municipality in attendance allowed one vote through their Mayor or designate. Depending on the day that the RFD is brought forward, there could be as few as 20 and as many as 200 voting delegates in attendance.

Approved resolutions are assigned to one of AUMA’s standing committees, which then makes recommendations to the AUMA Board on next steps. AUMA provides updates on RFD outcomes through the Digest.

One of the key differences between resolutions and RFDs is that AUMA has more flexibility in terms of the action it takes on adopted RFDs, and unlike resolutions, can modify the recommend action or request before submitting it to the province or federal government for a response.

In some cases, members may bring forward an RFD to test the perspectives of other members and/or for quick action by the AUMA, and then submit a resolution on the same topic in order for the issue to be considered by a larger portion of AUMA’s membership and potentially adopted through a more formal process.

If you still have questions about resolutions and RFDs, feel free to contact Rachel de Vos at rdevos@auma.ca or call 780-409-4313.