CREMONA - Councillors have given first reading to an updated code of conduct for the municipality, which includes updated rules for councillor interaction with the public.
The current code of conduct had not been reviewed in several years and was in need of an update, said Aaron Gertzen, the village's chief administrative officer.
“Administration has redrafted a bylaw for consideration of council based on current recommended language,” he said.
The purpose of the bylaw is to “establish standards for the ethical conduct of members relating to their roles and obligations as representatives of the municipality and a procedure for the investigation and enforcement of those standards,” the update states.
Under the updated legislation, members of council must “conduct themselves in a professional manner with dignity and make every effort to participate diligently in the meetings of council, committees of council and other bodies to which they are appointed by council (and) arrange their private affairs and conduct themselves in a manner that promotes public confidence and will bear close public scrutiny.”
Regarding interactions with council members, staff and the public, the updated bylaw states, in part, the following:
• No member (of council) shall speak in a manner that is discriminatory to any individual based on the person’s race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, family status or sexual orientation.
• No member shall use indecent, abusive or insulting words or expressions toward another member, any employees of the municipality or any member of the public.
• Members shall treat one another, employees of the municipality and members of the public with courtesy, dignity and respect without abuse, bullying or intimidation.
• Members must not use, or attempt to use, their authority or influence for the purpose of intimidating, threatening, coercing, commanding or influencing any employee of the municipality with the intent of interfering in employee’s duties (or) maliciously or falsely injure the professional or ethical reputation or the prospects or practice of employees of the municipality.
The code of conduct includes provisions for conducting informal and formal complains against elected officials.
Sanctions under the bylaw include letter of reprimand and “any other sanction council deems reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances provided that the sanction does not prevent a member from fulfilling the legislated duties of a council and the sanction is not contrary the (Municipal Government Act).”
The recently updated Municipal Government Act requires municipalities to have updated codes of conduct in place.
Second and third reading of the updated Cremona code is expected to take place at the next council meeting, said the village's chief administrative officer.