North Cowichan councillor Al Siebring wants standards of conduct established for council members and staff in the municipality. (File photo)

North Cowichan council to set standards of conduct

New code will cover council members and staff

Al Siebring wants to see a more respectful workplace for council members in North Cowichan, as well as for those who work for the municipality.

Siebring, who is a councillor in North Cowichan, tabled a successful motion at the last council meeting that will see “standards of conduct” established for council members and employees, as well as a new oath of office for council members.

The new standards of conduct and oath of office, which are now being prepared by staff and will be tabled at a future council meeting, are expected to set behavioural expectations for council members and staff that will “instill public trust and confidence, contribute to a respectful workplace and not bring the municipality into disrepute”.

Siebring said while the recent case in which fellow North Cowichan councillor Joyce Behnsen was disciplined by council for bullying and harassing a municipal employee brought the issue to the forefront for him, it’s something that he has given much thought to over the years.

FOR RELATED STORY, CLICK HERE

“I have sworn an oath of office in North Cowichan three different times now that has come straight from the Community Charter, and it’s really not very impressive,” he said.

“Most councillors don’t remember much of what they said, other than that they will act in the interests of the constituents. I think it would be good to have standards in which council members and staff declare how they will conduct themselves and show respect for other councillors and staff.”

Behnsen said at the meeting that she hopes that the new policy will help the public know their rights when dealing with the municipality.

“It would be helpful for the public to know how their questions and concerns with the municipality should be addressed,” she said.

Siebring said he studied the issue for some time before he brought it to the council table.

He said he discovered that Ontario requires all its municipalities to have codes of conduct, and there’s even a conduct commissioner in that province to ensure everyone follows the rules.

“I also researched how some other jurisdictions deal with it as well and came up with a five-page code of conduct that I sent to our staff for consideration when developing our standards of conduct and oath of office,” Siebring said.

“My hope is that by the end of our term, we’ll have this in place so the incoming council will know the ground rules. If councillors choose to step outside the standards of conduct, it would be an issue that the province would need to deal with.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

VIDEO: SAR reinforcements from up Island arrive Sunday to help search for Ben Kilmer

Family, RCMP ‘extremely happy’ with the search effort so far, search manager tells volunteers

Good Samaritan helps extinguish car fire in Ladysmith

A woman was behind the wheel of a Chevy Impala on a… Continue reading

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

Who is Vancouver Island’s greatest athlete ever?

We want to know, you get to choose in a 64-athlete tournament bracket

More mural unveilings in Chemainus Saturday

Festival begins at Ace Hardware on Chemainus Road

Winnipeg’s JP Hoe performs in Ladysmith

Six-time Western Canada Music Award nominee and Winnipeg native JP Hoe performed… Continue reading

Friends and family playing huge role in search for Vancouver Island man

Volunteers from the public join forces with SAR crews

Chilliwack Chiefs make history with first RBC Cup win

In front of a huge and noisy crowd, the Chiefs claimed their first-ever national junior A title.

Central Vancouver Island man dies in single-vehicle collision

Pickup truck with three occupants went off the road near Port Alberni

UPDATED: Majority of flood evacuees in Kootenay-Boundary allowed to return home

Officials hope to have all 3,000 people back in their homes by Monday night

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

Most Read