South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds recently tabled a motion that will help govern the rules conduct for council members, now and into the future.
Deputy Mayor Jim Locke seconded the motion, with every member of council supporting the formation of such a document.
Prefacing the need for such a document, Mayor Byvelds said, “I will first state that we, as a council have not had any major issues. However, I believe it is a course of action that will make us a better council.”
He called the formation of a code of conduct, “a proactive approach to avoid problems that can occur. “This is a proactive approach that we and future council’s will abide by.”
Staff will draft a code that will provide confirmation of each individual councillor’s role.
It will lay out protocol for how council responds to the community and council’s behaviour within it.
It will set standards of confidentiality and outline how council will work with staff concerning operational issues.
It will deal with respecting the decision-making process and lay out protocol for litigation or possible litigation issues.
Communication process for both the public and the media will also form part of this document, along with reputation management and accepting gifts and benefits.
Byvelds list of goals for this documents also lists engagement of incompatible activity and defining more closely conflict of interest.
Professional development, interpersonal behavior and compliance and implementation are also part of his list.
“A code of conduct certainly is not unique to South Dundas, as many municipalities have implemented various versions,” said Byvelds. “I will work with staff to have them bring forth a code that is fairly complete and will certainly be one that council can work with. It will have a fair process for issues to be dealt with.
As seconder to the motion, Locke was supportive, only adding that other communities have had issues and that this type of document is being put into place in many municipalities across the province.
“I totally support the concept of a code of conduct,” said South Dundas councillor Jim Graham. “Situations have arisen showing that we do need this, so I support it 100 percent.”
“I think from time to time there is likely a need for a code of conduct,” agreed councillor Archie Mellan.
“This is a good proactive exercise to do, and to get taken care of before there are any issues,” said councillor Evonne Delegarde.
This is only the first step in the process of implementing a council code of conduct, drafts will be prepared and reviewed before the final vote is before council.