Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Council Charter Role of Councillor

In what some might see as political gamesmanship, Councillor Brennan had brought a motion to see the Council Charter, Role of Mayor, Role of Councillor, Council-Staff Relations Protocol Charter be made available for signing at the open Council meeting of August 17/15.

The signing of this document was something adopted by the previous city council, however the document is not required to be signed and in fact had been opposed last term by Mayor McKay. 

This document if memory serves was one of the products of a $90,000.Governance Steering Committee project last term chaired by Councillor Greves. It also produced many recommendations such as limiting the time city staff could engage with a Councillor, and other recommendations that have never been adopted. I suspect the push-back from the number of engaged citizens city hall now has to deal with would put a quick end to many of those recommendations.

While there was no requirement to sign this document several Councillors explained why they did sign it when they became Councillors and many Councillors explained why they felt that swearing their oath of office before Judge Cowling at their inauguration was sufficient.

Some of the language in the document I personally found troubling not the least of which was the following:

Consequences for serious breaches of agreed to performance expectations such as release of confidential information, improper use of influence, conflicts of interest, discreditable conduct such as bullying or intimidation can include:

o a motion of censure,
o reassignment of committee or other civic appointments and duties, or
o limitations on access to staff or to municipal resources.

Who determines when vigorous debate is classed as bullying? Who makes that call? What is the actual legal definition of bullying? I note, according to the above it carries the same consequence as conflict of interest and disclosing confidential information. That being the case, a charge of bullying must be very clearly defined.


1 comment:

  1. Maybe the city manager decides if anyone 'bullies' his employees? Maybe anyone or everyone could declare they are being bullied?

    It makes no sense to put special rules in place for Nanaimo, the provincial rules and regs are sufficient.


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