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CAO's Code of Conduct - Report

 

 

 

TO:

Town of Bancroft Committee of the Whole

 

 

FROM:

Hazel Lambe CAO/Clerk

 

 

DATE:

September 29th, 2015

 

 

 

SUBJECT:

Code of Conduct  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recommendation:

 

That the CAO’s Code of Conduct report be received for information purposes and published on the Town’s website for public information.

 

Background:

 

A municipality is currently not required to have a Code of Conduct for its Council or its employees.  The Council of the Town of Bancroft decided in 2013 that a Code of Conduct was good practise as it helps to ensure that employees, members of Council and members of the public share and understand a common basis of acceptable conduct. 

 

In general, a Code of Conduct “should serve to enhance public confidence that elected representatives and employees operate from a basis of integrity, justice and courtesy.”

Municipal Codes of Conduct vary across municipalities as specific content is determined by each individual Council.  There are risks associated with the implementation of a Code of Conduct because it cannot specifically identify every situation that may arise. 

 

A Code of Conduct is an acknowledgement and commitment to all people that the persons for whom it is written will act with integrity, fairness, consistency, impartiality, and respect, and that they will act within the law without any prejudices or biases. 

 

It is intended to encourage the highest standards of ethical behaviour in order to uphold public trust, governance, and the Town’s reputation.  It is a living document and is a value-based reference intended to encourage the highest standard of ethical behaviour.

 

Members of Council are committed to transparent and accountable governance in order to best serve their constituents.  The Council of the Town of Bancroft is entrusted with the public’s confidence in making decisions and performing their duties in office. 

 

Rigorous oversight of Member conduct is achieved through existing Statutes and policies such as the Criminal Code of Canada and the Ontario Human Rights Code, as well as the Municipal Act, Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Municipal Elections Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act, and the Town’s Policies, By-laws and Protocols. 

 

There are several components to a Code of Conduct:

 

  1. 1.    Transparency, Accountability and Good Governance: deals with conducting business in a transparent, accountable and equitable manner, recognizing that the public has a right to open government, participation in decision making, and access to information on how decisions are made.  Decisions are made by Council as a whole.

 

  1. 2.    Conduct for Council and Committee Meetings:  Council will conduct themselves with decorum to show courtesy and respect to fellow members and others.

 

  1. 3.    Conduct Respecting Staff

 

  1. 4.    Respecting Confidential Information

 

  1. 5.    Respecting Corporate Resources

 

  1. 6.    Respecting Gifts, Hospitality and Benefits:  All gifts and benefits are a matter of public record.

 

  1. 7.    Compliance and Interpretation:  Council has the right to appoint an Integrity Commissioner

 

It is not the intent of a Code of Conduct for Council that any member of the Council would act independently through their interpretation/opinion and that the independent action(s) has the potential to place other members of Council in a position whereby their integrity is jeopardized in any way. 

 

A member of Council may challenge another member or members if they feel the Code has been breached.  Such challenge should be filed with the Clerk and presented to Council as a whole whereby it can be appropriately debated.  Questions regarding the clarity of the Code of Conduct should be addressed collectively by all members of Council while in proper public forum.

 

The filing of records such as gifts, hospitality and benefits received by a member of Council is a Councillor responsibility if so requested by any person and is governed by Statute as it is a record of the Corporation.  This does not rely on a Code of Conduct.

 

The Mayor’s opening of a meeting of Council whereby a moment of silence for personal reflection is provided is generally a time that members can reflect on their declaration of office and Code of Conduct.  Council is responsible for providing the highest standards of ethical behaviour to uphold public trust, governance integrity, and the Town’s reputation. 

 

In 2015, the Town of Bancroft’s solicitor reviewed the Town’s Code of Conduct and all applicable Statute regarding matters pertaining to gifts, hospitality and benefits. The Solicitor identified and confirmed interpretation for Council and staff acceptable activities as it applied to this section.

 

As most small and medium municipalities remain without a Code of Conduct, the Town of Bancroft has taken a leading role and proven their commitment to residents approving a Code of Conduct for its elected members of Council and all employees.  

 

 

 

Signatures:                          CAO/Clerk    _______________________________

 

 

 

 

 

Town of Bancroft

24 Flint Ave., P.O. Box 790
Bancroft, ON K0L 1C0

Phone: (613) 332-3331
Fax: (613) 332-0384
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