South Peace News
A new code of conduct for councillors is being supported by the new council of Big Lakes County.
At the first regular meeting Oct. 25, council gave passed two readings to a bylaw for the code of conduct that reflects the new Modernized Municipal Government Act.
“This is very important, that council members understand what their roles and responsibilities are,” says Reeve Ken Matthews.
“We’re ahead of the game because some municipalities don’t have a code of conduct.”
The bylaw establishes minimum requirements for matters that the code of conduct must address such as representing the municipality, communicating on behalf of the municipality, adherence to policies, procedures and bylaws, respectful interactions with councillors, staff, the public and others, and conflict of interest, says a report from deputy CAO Jordan Pana- siuk.
“It has a lot more detail and teeth than what we had before,” he says.
“This bylaw addresses all the new legislated requirements of the code of conduct for elected officials.”
The new MGA and code will not come into effect until some time in 2018.
Among the highlights of the code, members of council shall:
– Treat fellow councillors, administration and the public with respect, concern and courtesy.
– Demonstrate the highest standards of personal integrity and honesty in order to foster the public trust and confidence in the municipality.
– Communicate and work with fellow councillors in an open and honest manner promoting a spirit of co-operation, by listening and respecting those opinions that may differ.
– Recognize when interacting with the public, no individual authority exists except where explicitly authorized by a council resolution, bylaw or policy.
– Recognize when interacting with the press, individual councillors do not speak for the municipality except explicitly authorized by a council resolution, bylaw or policy.
– Direct any comments regarding staff performance to the CAO, recognizing that the CAO is the only employee of council.
– Not use the position of councillor to benefit one’s self to another individual apart from the interest of the municipality, and avoid placing one’s self in a position where there may be a perceived conflict of interest or apprehension or bias.
– Not use or attempt to use the municipality’s funds, property, or information for the personal benefit of the councillor or for the personal gain or benefit of another individual.
– Protect privileged information learned during the course of the duties of councillor and preserve the confidentiality of information provided to them concerning confidential matters of the municipality.
– Disclose to council any behaviour or activity that may qualify as corruption, abuse, fraud, bribery, or conflict of interest as identified in the MGA or bylaws and policies of the municipality.