Tyler Gandam, Mayor of Wetaskiwin, emerged victorious as the newly elected President of the Alberta Municipalities Friday morning. The election, held at the Alberta Municipalities Trade and Conference Show in Edmonton saw Gandam defeat formidable opponents, Trina Jones, Mayor of Legal, and Andre Chabot, Councillor for Calgary, in a contest that was filled with anticipation and enthusiasm.
Gandam's triumph marked a significant moment in the realm of municipal leadership, as he took the reins from outgoing President Cathy Heron, Mayor of St. Albert, who served in the position for the past two years. The transition comes at a crucial juncture for Alberta's municipalities, as they grapple with a myriad of challenges and opportunities.
Reflecting on his election victory, President-elect Gandam expressed his commitment to building on the foundation laid by his predecessor. "I don't think it's going to be different," he remarked, emphasizing his dedication to continuity and collaboration. "One of my takeaways, and one of the things that I've focused on in my professional life, is building relationships. I think Cathy's done a really good job of building those relationships, and what I want to do is make sure that I continue those relationships as well as build new ones."
Gandam's vision for his presidency is clear: fostering stronger connections within the association, with the media, the provincial government, and the federal government, while ensuring that every member feels heard.
He noted that a recurring concern voiced during the conference was that members, especially from smaller communities, towns, and villages, often felt their voices went unheard and that resources weren't allocated fairly. "I think it's really important that our association and our members feel heard, and that I'm as available as I possibly can be to make sure that I'm their voice," Gandam stressed.
One notable aspect of Gandam's election is the prospect of working closely with Premier Danielle Smith. Gandam expressed his appreciation for Premier Smith's engagement at the Alberta Municipalities conference and her eagerness to collaborate on various municipal issues. "The relationship that I've already built with the premier...I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to build that relationship with the provincial government," Gandam emphasized. He highlighted the Premier's active participation in addressing the association and its members, as well as her commitment to the question and answer period, as a sign that the government is genuinely attentive to the needs of municipalities.
The Alberta Municipalities' three-day conference culminated with the election of new board members, solidifying Gandam's position as President. Reflecting on the conference's accomplishments, he underscored the value of networking and building relationships among members. "It was a great time to reconnect, build some new relationships and continue that networking that we find so valuable," Gandam stated.
As he takes on his new role, Gandam has outlined some of his top priorities as President of Alberta Municipalities. Foremost among them is the task of finalizing the LGFF (Local Government Fiscal Framework) formula and allotments. This critical issue has far-reaching implications for municipalities across the province. In addition to working on LGFF, Gandam also highlighted the importance of collaboration with Alberta Municipalities' sister organization, the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA), to ensure that the interests of both urban and rural communities are represented effectively.
The new president's commitment to building and nurturing relationships at all levels, coupled with his emphasis on inclusivity and ensuring every member's voice is heard, bodes well for the future of municipal governance in the province.
Gandam's term as President of Alberta Municipalities runs from 2023 to 2025.