AG Academy Multi-tool

AG Academy

Two Special 2017 programmes scheduled:AG Academy

  • Programme for CAOs and Senior Managers (4 Day)
  • 4 Day Programme
  • Webinar for Recent Municipal Employees
  • One Day Workshop - Municipal Administrative Support Professionals
  • Two Day Programme CAOs & Senior Managers
  • Locally Delivered Two Day Programmes 

Fall 2017 – CAO and Senior Staff Four Day Programme Dates

  • October 24 to 27, 2017
    Ambassador Hotel
    1550 Princess Street
    Kingston, ON

Enrollment is limited. Register today!

CAO Programme for Excellence in Municipal Leadership (4 Day Programme)


Every Council needs a senior administrator with the skills to see the big picture. He/she must be able to advise Council in a comprehensive and professional way, lead the administration in implementing Council’s decisions; and liaise effectively with senior governments and the public. This intensive programme will enhance your CAO or Administrator’s skills to serve Council and your community.


  • Organize and present the budget plan
  • Enhance your role as advisor and as communicator
  • Define and improve your style as a leader
  • Appreciate the challenges of Council in a changing world
  • Improve reports and presentations to Council
  • Align your goals with those of Council


Successful leadership in local government means balancing the need to assist Council in developing policies and effective decisions and the requirement of leading the administration in implementing those policies. Discover practical techniques that will dramatically increase the value of your municipal organization. In this hands on programme, you will develop a keen understanding of how and when to use hese leadership tools to enhance your municipality.


  • Techniques that make meetings more effective
  • Tools that make the most of your valuable time
  • Ensuring your organization is accountable and transparent to your community
  • The latest methods to get the best from your limited staff resources
  • Learning to capitalize on success of some municipalities and avoid the costly mistakes of others
  • Putting your municipality in a better position to excel


  • You are a CAO or Administrator
  • Council determines the need for intensive training for its CAO
  • You have been identified by council in its succession plan for a possible leadership role
  • You aspire to the position of CAO

Programme Outline

The CAO Programme for Excellence in Municipal Leadership is an intense, interactive, practical educational experience. It begins at 7:00 pm after dinner on Tuesday evening. Wednesday and Thursday will run from 8:00 am to 9:30 pm and Friday from 8:00 am until noon. Registration includes all meals and refreshment breaks (not dinner on Tuesday).


  • as a leader and communicator
    What is your personal style?
  • and your Council
    Just who does what?
  • and the future
    What is the corporate vision?
  • and the budget
    Are you ready for next year’s Budget?
  • as a person
    Is there balance in your life?
  • as a networker
    Do you nurture your network?
  • and the Head of Council
    Is there a dividing line?
  • and your staff team
    Do you help them excel?


Nigel Bellchamber consults with municipal government on strategic planning, CAO recruitment, organizational design, and financial matters. His local government career spanned four municipalities and twenty five years in roles such as CAO or Treasurer. He and Fred Dean have worked with municipalities across the Province wishing to improve their Council/ Staff relations.

Fred Dean is a municipal solicitor and senior administrator with over 30 years in local government in Ontario. He and Nigel have facilitated the highly successful AMO Effective Municipal Councillor Programme for municipal councillors and heads of council for the last seven years. He is a recognized coach to municipal councillors and staff. Fred is the Chair of the Question Box panel at the ROMA/OGRA conference. In 2007 Fred and Nigel were both named to the AMO Honour Roll.

Fall 2017 – CAO Four Day Programme Dates

  • October 24 to 27, 2017
    Ambassador Hotel
    1550 Princess Street
    Kingston, ON

Enrollment is limited. Register today!

By Email:
By Telephone: 1-866-535-8079, 1-519-434-8079
By Mail: Amberley Gavel, 35 Ambleside Dr., London ON N6G 4M3

Registration Fee:
CAO Four Day Programme – $1895.00 plus HST = $ 2141.35 *
(includes three breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and snacks)
Additional same municipality participants attending – $1795.00 plus HST = $2028.35
Includes all meals and refreshment breaks
* Lower fees are possible for locally arranged sessions, and for in-house sessions. Call for details.
Make cheque payable to “Amberley Gavel Ltd.” and indicate for which location you are enrolling.
Toll Free: 1-866-535-8079 Phone: 1-519-434-8079 |

Refund Policy:

Registration due date 14 days before session. Full refunds available with cancellation before due date. After due date, no refunds but full credit will be given towards future programmes.

Webinar for New Municipal Employees

This webinar series is unique, and designed for the recently appointed municipal employee, although every municipal employee would benefit regardless of length of employment.

Every municipality provides their employees with orientation of a general nature but spends most of the orientation time on the employee’s particular job function.

Our research has shown that to make every employee an outstanding ambassador for the municipality and to prepare them to take on greater responsibilities when the time comes that they need to understand how their position and others fit into the bigger picture of municipal service in Ontario.

The webinars draw in part on our highly successful sessions held across the province for administrative support professionals. But the content has been expanded in scope to make it relevant for new staff in any municipal department.

This live four part webinar series, presented by Nigel Bellchamber and Fred Dean, will be held over four days with one session on each of June 19, 20, 21, and 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. EDT. There is no limit to the number of employees that can participate in a single location in the municipality, but we do require separate registrations for separate locations.

The price is $249.00 plus HST of $32.37 for a total of $281.37 per connected site.

To register, please email your intention
to  and no later than
10 days before the webinar send a cheque payable to Amberley Gavel Ltd.,
35 Ambleside Dr., London, ON N6G 4M3

One Day Workshop – Municipal Administrative Support Professionals

AG AcademyYou may be the executive assistant to a CAO or a Mayor, a departmental secretary, or the person who manages the front counter and handles incoming telephone calls for your municipality. This programme is the first of its kind. It has been held numerous times across Ontario, and is designed with your needs in mind, regardless of your municipality’s size or location.

Your role is vital to the decision making process for your Council, and for the successful implementation of its decisions and the delivery of its services.

This one day programme is designed with your role in mind, and will make you a more effective member of your municipal team, regardless of whether you have been with your municipality ten weeks or ten years!

What participants have said about the Amberley Gavel Programme for Administrative Support Professionals:

‍ “We enjoyed your presentation and good humour…very informative.”

“ This should be a mandatory follow up to AMCTO’s MAP program”

“Keep doing what you are doing!”“Good pace-not overwhelming”

“Very good overview of municipal operations”

“Wonderful speakers, very informative,“ Lots of great interaction with participants”

“Really nice to have presenters with relevant experience-they understand.”

“Good team approach….you complement each other.”

“Useful, I knew a bit about topics, but not in detail”

“Lots of helpful examples..”

“This is the first time in my long career someone has develop a workshop just for us. Thank you!”

From the Administrative Support Professional’s perspective, this programme covers:

  • Scope of Municipal Services
  • How Council Functions
  • Municipal Powers and Organization
  • Types of Municipalities
  • Accountability and Transparency
  • Personal Networking
  • How Council gets Advice
  • Staff Reports
  • Preparing PowerPoint Presentations for others
  • Time Management
  • Fiscal Controls
  • Dealing with difficult Individuals

We have found that sessions are more productive if held close to the attendees’ places of employment, and thus we prefer to respond to area-based initiatives organized on a local or county basis. Contact us at or 519-434-8079 for more information on arranging a session in your area.

Two Day Programme CAOs & Senior Managers

AG AcademyDefinitive Tool SetA two day Programme was developed at the request of CAOs who attended Amberley Gavel’s four day Programme for Excellence for CAOs and Senior Administrators in 2008 and 2009.

While it builds upon the topics in the four day programme, a person attending it first will also find it very beneficial in day to day work and in longer term planning.

CAOs attending this and Amberley Gavel’s other programmes have commented on the variety, fast pace, and fun involved in the interactive and effective teaching techniques employed by the facilitators.

Amberley Gavel’s principals, Fred Dean and Nigel Bellchamber will once again share their insights and build upon participants’ knowledge to deliver a highly effective learning experience for the attendees.

And, about the Two Day CAO and Senior Managers Programme:

“Great interactive session”

“Very concise information”

“Excellent 2 days-very informative”

“Accommodated needs of participants-excellent interaction”

“Another great session. I would recommend it to my peers”

“Wonderful personal networking opportunity..”

Some of the topics in this programme are:

  • Understanding and applying demographics
  • Differing roles at meetings
  • Effective agenda preparation
  • Staff and multiple “hats”
  • Dealing with attacks on staff
  • Procedure By-law use
  • Effective PowerPoint
  • Financial Planning and the CAO
  • Conflict of Interest issues
  • Closed Meetings update
  • Orienting a new Council
  • Staff Appraisal and Development
  • Labour Relations Issues
  • Media Relations
  • CAO/Senior Manager and
  • Head of Council relations, and
  • Lots of time for dialogue and interaction

Locally Delivered Two Day Programmes 

In recent years the most beneficial two days sessions have been where an entire senior management team from a medium sized  municipality has participated and others from neighbouring municipalities and local boards, such as library boards have also been invited to keep costs manageable. If your team is interested contact us for a discussion on how we might put one together for your team. The savings on travel costs for the municipality can be substantial.

AG Academy Multi-tool
AG Academy Multi-tool
AG Academy Puzzle Piece - Amberley Gavel - Fred Dean and Nigel Bellchamber, experienced municipal professionals and acknowledged leaders in the field of councillor education

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35 Ambleside Drive, London ON, N6G 4M3