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3356-2018 Code of Conduct Policy

3356-2018 Code of Conduct Policy By-Law

BEING A BY-LAW TO ESTABLISH A CODE OF CONDUCT FOR THE COUNCIL OF THE TOWNSHIP OF AUGUSTA

Passed by Council April 23, 2018


THE CORPORATION OF THE TOWNSHIP OF AUGUSTA
BY-LAW NUMBER 3356-2018
A BY-LAW TO ESTABLISH A CODE OF CONDUCT FOR THE
COUNCIL OF THE TOWNSHIP OF AUGUSTA

AND WHEREAS Section 223.2(1) of the Municipal Act 2001, SO 2001, c. 25, as amended, authorizes municipalities to establish codes of conduct for Members of the Council of the municipality;

AND WHEREAS the Council of the Corporation of the Township of Augusta is dedicated to providing good and effective governance for the public in an open, accountable and transparent manner;

NOW THEREFORE the Council of the Corporation of the Township of Augusta enacts as follows:

  1. That this Council does hereby adopt the Code of Conduct, attached hereto as Schedule “A”.
  2. That Schedule “A” forms part of this by-law.
  3. That this by-law shall come into force and take effect upon receiving the
    final passing thereof.
  4. That by-law 2891 is hereby rescinded.

Read a first and second time this 23 day of April, 2018.

Read a third time and passed this 23 day of April, 2018.

Signed by the Deputy Mayor and Clerk.+

TOWNSHIP OF AUGUSTA
COUNCIL CODE OF CONDUCT
SCHEDULE ‘A’ TO BY-LAW 3356-2018

1. DEFINITIONS

Pecuniary Interests: means the capacity for personal financial gain, either directly or indirectly.

Conflict of Interest: means a conflict between public duty and private interests.

Staff (Employee): means all paid staff of the municipality including statutory officer whether full-time, part-time, contract, seasonal or temporary.

Communications: include but are not limited to, written or spoken words in the form of e-mail transmissions, social media, phone and pictures.

Harassment: means engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against an employee, member of the public or fellow council members that is known or ought to be known to be unwelcome.

2. PURPOSE

The Council of the Township of Augusta is responsible for and dedicated to providing good and effective government for the public in an open and accountable and transparent manner.

This by-law may be referred to as the “Code of Conduct” and is intended to provide broad guidelines and principals for standard of ethical behaviour for Council in connection with their official duties.

Every Member of Council shall observe and comply with every provision of this Code of Conduct as well as all other policies and procedures adopted or established by Council.

3. LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY

Under the Municipal Act as amended section 223.2 authorizes a municipality to establish codes of conduct for Members of the Council of the municipality.
This Code of Conduct is consistent with the existing legislation that includes but is not limited to:

  • Municipal Act
  • The Criminal Code of Canada (Bribery, fraud, breach of trust)
  • Municipal Conflict of Interest Act
  • Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act

4. APPLICATION

This Code of Conduct applies to all Member of Council, including the Mayor, who are expected to follow this Code, the Council Procedural By-law and other applicable bylaw or policy.

5. GENERAL

  • This Code does not prohibit members of Council from properly using their influence on behalf of constituents.
  • Members are responsible for complying with all applicable legislation, by-laws and policies pertaining to their position as an elected official
  • Members shall at all times serve and be seen to serve the interests of their constituents in a conscientious manner.
  • Members are expected to perform their duties of office with integrity, accountability and transparency.

6. CONFIDENTIALITY

Members of Council have a duty to hold information received at closed meetings in strict confidence for as long and as broadly as the confidence applies. They must not, either directly or indirectly, release, make public or in any way divulge any such information or any confidential aspect of the closed deliberations to anyone, unless authorized by Council or required by law.

Members of Council must not disclose, use or release information in contravention of applicable privacy law. They are only entitled to information in the possession of the municipality that is relevant to matters before the Council.

Members of Council must not release information subject to solicitor-client privilege, unless expressly authorized by Council or required by law.

Members of Council may not use any information obtained through their role for personal gain, or disclose such information to others persons to permit those persons to realize personal gain, directly or indirectly.

Council members shall keep confidential any information:

(a) disclosed or discussed at a meeting of Council, Committee of the whole or Standing Committee, or part of a meeting of Council, Committee of the Whole or Standing Committee, that was closed to the public.
(b) that is circulated to Members of Council that is marked confidential or that is client solicitor protected.  Any documentation marked confidential shall be kept securely until no longer required in the course of business and shall at that time be returned to the office of the Clerk for destruction.
(c) that is received in confidence verbally in preparation of the closed session meeting.
(d) Information acquired that is prohibited from disclosing under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

The obligation to keep information confidential applies even if the member ceases to be a Member of Council.

Council shall not use information gained in the execution of their duties that is not available to the general public for any purposes other than their official duties.

7. RULES AND ETIQUETTE – MEETINGS

During Council and other meetings where they are representing the Township, Members of Council shall conduct themselves with decorum, in a civil manner and in accordance with the Township’s Procedural By-Law.

8. ACCEPTANCE OF GIFTS OR BENEFITS

Members of Council shall not accept gifts that would, to a reasonable member of the public, appear to be in gratitude for influence, to induce influence to ensure that Township decisions are based on impartial and objective assessment of each situation, free from influence of gifts, favours, hospitality or entertainment.

Members of Council are prohibited from soliciting, accepting, offering or agreeing to accept any gifts, commission, hospitality, reward, advantage or benefit of any kind, personally or through a family member or business connection, that is connected directly or indirectly with the performance of duties of office or could reasonably be construed as being given in anticipation of future, or recognition of past, “special consideration”.

This Code does not prohibit the acceptance of a gift, benefit or hospitality that occurs as part of the social protocol or community events linked to the duties of an elected official and their role in representing the municipality.

Disclosure

Council and staff shall disclose any single gift (or total value of gifts received from one source) over $100.

9. DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT

Harassment of another member, staff or any member of the public is inappropriate and prohibited behaviour. It is the policy of the Township that all persons be treated fairly in the workplace in an environment free of discrimination, intimidation, bullying, coercion, threats and sexual harassment.

10. USE OF TOWNSHIP PROPERTY, SERVICES AND OTHER RESOURCES

Council shall not use for personal purposes any township property, equipment, services, supplies or services of consequence other than for purposes connected with the discharge of Township duties or associated community activities of which township Council has been advised.

11. PUBLIC COMMUNICATIONS

Members of Council shall accurately communicate the decisions of council, even if they disagree with a majority decision of council. They may state publically that they did not support the decision, but not so far as to undermine the standing of council in the public and in the community. When discussing the fact that they did not support a decision, a councillor shall refrain from making disparaging comments
about other Members of Council or council’s processes.

12. CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

Council have a trust placed in them by the community that necessitates that they ensure that any conflict between personal interest and public duty is minimized. Any Member of Council who have a pecuniary interest in the matter before the meeting is required to disclose the interest and its nature and precludes the member from taking any part in the discussion or voting on any question in respect of the matter.

Members of Council shall also refrain from undue influence in order to obtain advantage of behalf of another.

13. COUNCIL & STAFF- ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES

Legislated Responsibilities – Municipal Act, 2001

It is the role of Council,
a) to represent the public and to consider the well-being and interests of the community;
b) to develop and evaluate the policies and programs of the municipality;
c) to determine which services the municipality provides;
d) to ensure that administrative practices and procedures are in place to implement the decisions of council;
e) to maintain the financial integrity of the municipality; and
f) to carry out the duties of council under this and any other Act.

It is the role of the Head of Council,
a) to act as the Chief Executive Officer of the municipality;
b) to preside over council meetings;
c) to provide leadership to the council;
d) to represent the municipality at official functions, and
e) to carry out the duties of the Head of Council under this or any other Act.

It is the role of officers and employees of the municipality,
a) to implement council’s decisions and establish administrative practices and procedures to carry out council’s decisions;
b) to undertake research and provide advice to council on the policies and programs of the municipality; and
c) to carry out other duties required under this and any other Act and other duties assigned by the municipality.

Council and Staff Relationships

The role of council and staff have clearly defined roles that distinguish between the concepts of “governance” and “management”. For the municipality to function as it should, Council and staff should work together on the basis of shared responsibility to serve the electorate. This common objective can best be established by means of the effective management of municipal polices adopted by council.

An effective working relationship starts with mutual respect for each other’s roles and responsibilities.

a) Township council acting as a body, can dictate that staff perform such duties as are necessary to the efficient management of the affairs of the community, and/or research such matters as the council deems necessary. Individual Council members do not have authority to direct the CAO, managers or staff.
b) The Roles of the CAO and managers are to direct the day to day management of the municipality, and assign duties to the staff placed under their supervision.  To encourage the efficient management of the community, individual Council members are requested to be cognizant of that fact and are advised of the following:

i) Councillors will respect and adhere to the Policies set by council, and will under no circumstances take it upon themselves, individually, to circumvent established Policies.
ii) Members shall respect the fact that staff carry out the direction of council and administer the policies of the municipality, and are required to do so without any undue influence from any individual Member or Council.
iii) No member shall maliciously or falsely impugn or injure the professional or ethical reputation or the prospects or practice of staff.
iv) Council, as a body, and as individuals, will liaise with the CAO only. This requirement is not designed to interfere with the normal flow of information with those staff members (Administrative Assistants, Clerk, Committee Secretaries) who have been assigned the responsibility of providing information to Councillors such as meeting times, copies of documents, information on standard operating procedures, etc. by the CAO.
v) Questions or issues surrounding operational concerns or complaints, excluding the basic issues covered in (ii) above, should be directed to the CAO.
vi) Councillors who still have concerns about operational issues, after addressing them with the CAO, should raise these concerns at Committee of the Whole.
vii) The municipality has never had a practice of providing secretarial and/or research services for individual Councillors. Should information be required by individual Council members, a request should be made of the CAO, who will then decide which staff member will obtain the data.

In the extended absence of the CAO, or in the case of an urgent matter where the CAO is not available, inquiries should be directed through the Clerk.

14. BREACH OF POLICY

Any complaint alleging that a violation of the Code of Conduct has occurred shall be directed to the CAO in writing and signed and dated by the person making the allegation.

If in the opinion of the CAO, the allegation is not frivolous, vexatious and is made in good faith, the CAO shall forward the complaint to the Municipality appointed Integrity Commissioner for investigation and review.

The Integrity Commissioner shall make an expeditious investigation and review of the complaint, following which they shall make a written report to Council which may contain recommendations concerning sanctions which Council may implement.

If the integrity commissioner finds that in their opinion a member has contravened the code the municipality may:
a) Impose a reprimand
b) Suspension of remuneration for up to 90 days

The Integrity Commissioner may also recommend that Council consider imposing remedial measures, including but not limited to:
a) Written or verbal public apology
b) Return of property or reimbursement of its value or of monies spent
c) Removal from membership of a committee for a specified period
d) Removal as chair of a committee for a specified period.