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: CVRD already hard at work on climate change issues, Morrison tells One Cowichan

‘Not only is our rubber on the road, we’re up to speed!’ CVRD chair answers climate action critics

Mary Lowther column: Your plants need to feed, too, as they produce your food

Growing plants require extra nutrients beyond what they begin with when sown or planted.

VIDEO: Province agrees to fund investigation of new bypass road for Lake Cowichan

Province won’t build the road but is ready to start the ball rolling by paying for the first step

Business notes: New owners celebrate at Arbutus Ridge Golf Course

The award-winning Arbutus Ridge Golf Course in Cobble Hill has a new… Continue reading

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

Chiefs honour Indigenous leader wrongfully hanged in B.C. 154 years ago today

Chief Joe Alphonse says they want his remains returned to his homeland in B.C.’s Cariboo region

B.C. government seeks advice on reviving Interior forest industry

Public website opens as meetings start with community leaders

Film features Chez Monique, an off-the-grid restaurant on West Coast Trail in B.C.

“The story we are trying to share is of the loving haven they created and sustained for decades.”

Psychics, drones being used to search for missing Chilliwack woman with dementia

Drones, psychics, dogs and more have been employed to help find Grace Baranyk, 86

Scheer on Trump: It’s ‘offensive’ to question the family background of critics

Trump is being called a racist for saying that the four congresswomen should go back where they came from

Instagram expands Canadian pilot removing ‘like’ counts to more countries

Social media giant plans to roll out the test in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Japan, Italy and Ireland

Man involved in beating and tasering over a drug debt to be sentenced in Nanaimo

Colin Damen Gary Lamontagne pleaded guilty to charges, including aggravated assault

Pamela Anderson adds star power to B.C. Green Party town hall

Celebrity attended Nanaimo meeting with representatives from U.S.-based environmental group

Most Read