Course of Study
One of the first actions of the Executive of the Associated Committee, after it was formed in 1921, was to request the Minister of Municipal Affairs to set a voluntary examination for rural municipal secretary-treasurers and issue certificates to those who passed the examinations. The records show that several proposals were considered, including a course that required attendance at the University of Saskatchewan and a correspondence course from a firm in Toronto. Discussions took place between the Associated Committee and representatives of the Department of Municipal Affairs and the S.A.R.M. was asked to endorse the principle of certification of rural municipal secretaries. There appeared to be an eagerness on the part of the secretary-treasurers to have standards of qualification established with certification after examinations but there is no record of what the stumbling block was. Everyone appeared to be in favour but there seemed to be some problem in getting started.
In 1930 Lou Jacobs of the Department of Municipal Affairs was asked to prepare an outline of a suitable course of study. Mr. E. S. Biggs, a chartered accountant in Regina, addressed the convention that year and advised that he was willing to prepare a suitable correspondence course that would prepare candidates for examinations. A joint brief with the S.A.R.M. requested the Department of Municipal Affairs to take action on legislation that was already in place providing for the appointment of a Board of Examiners and a standard of qualification.
A Board of Examiners was appointed in 1933 on which the Associated Committee and the S.A.R.M. had representation with a representative from the Department of Municipal Affairs. Provision was made to issue Class B certificates to those secretary-treasurers who had been in office for at least two years and had performed satisfactory service. Class C certificates were to be issued to candidates who had passed the examinations of the Board of Examiners and had some related office experience. Class A certificates were to be issued to all those candidates who had passed the examinations and had at least two years of satisfactory service in an office. The Biggs correspondence course was continued in use for trainees until it was discontinued about 1956. For a short time the Department of Municipal Affairs conducted a correspondence course while arrangements were being completed with the College of Commerce of the University of Saskatchewan to prepare a suitable course. In 1958 the College of Commerce presented a certificate course in Local Government Administration and issued certificates to those who passed their examinations. This eliminated the function of examinations by the Board of Examiners. On request of the Association the College of Commerce prepared a senior course in Local Government Administration for those secretary-treasurers who wished to further their training and qualifications. Completion of the senior course eventually lead to Superior Class A certificates issued by the Board of Examiners.
Course of Study & Examinations - 2
Because of constantly changing times and circumstances it was felt that as a condition to retain membership in the Association each member should participate in at least some of the educational upgrading opportunities that are presented from time to time in order to present the highest level of service. With this in mind the Association passed a bylaw in 1991 providing for participation in a professional development program in which each member is expected to obtain a minimum number of points each year by attending functions that are considered to be helpful in the work in a rural municipal office.
At this time (1993) there are some ongoing discussions with local government representatives in the four western provinces in an endeavor to establish a uniform standard of qualifications for local government in the four provinces.