The Association of Manitoba Municipalities convention in Brandon wrapped up Wednesday and it was the last one for outgoing executive director Joe Masi.

After 20 years with the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM), Joe Masi is retiring and his last day with the organization will be December 19th.

“I really enjoyed the work and it has been an amazing journey with the municipal people and that's what has kept me here is the membership of the AMM and they are just so great to work with.”

A lot has changed over the past two decades and Masi says for people sitting around the council table it isn’t like it used to be when you got involved in municipal politics. “I think the biggest change we’ve seen is the additional pressures they are under. It used to be a once a month job and meetings were once a month and now in some cases, it’s almost a full-time job due to the demands from the public and from the council itself.”

Social media has been another big change councils have had to adjust to compared to 20 years ago.

As for the Association of Manitoba Municipalities Joe Masi says there’s no question the group is a much stronger lobby organization that it was a few decades ago.

“When I started with AMM we did some lobbying and wrote the odd letter and today I’d say we are almost in the door of government on every major file of government and that shows you the level of trust we have with the province. We don’t always agree but we are in there lobbying. So going from a few letters to being involved with every major file is a huge change but it also means there are bigger expectations from our members.”

As for more women around the council table, Masi notes there has been some movement in that direction but there is definitely room for improvement.

“Hopefully it will continue to increase and right now 15% of the elected officials are women but the head of council increased from around 12% to 21% so we are seeing more women take on the leadership of council so that’s positive.”

As for his own future, Joe Masi plans to take some time off and perhaps get more involved with his home community of Portage la Prairie.