It would be up to council to deal with any breaches to the Town of Lake Cowichan’s code of ethics for its elected officials, says Mayor Tim McGonigle.
The town is in the process of updating its code of ethics for council members, and at the committee of the whole meeting on March 14, McGonigle said council “owns” its code of ethics, so it would be the responsibility of council members to administer any penalties if an elected official breached any part of it.
He said council would not have staff being responsible for administering penalties.
“It would be up to this body should something occur that contravenes the code of ethics,” McGonigle said.
“I know it has not been tested in the legal sense yet, but indications that I have received from legal [counsel] has suggested that because ownership resides at this table, then it would be implemented as such.”
The town’s code of ethics includes that council members shall refrain from abusive conduct, personal charges or verbal attacks upon the character or motives of other members of council, committees, staff or the public.
Another section of the code states that council members shall not accept any money, property, position or favour of any kind whether to be received at the present or in the future, from a person having, or seeking to have, dealings with the town.
Coun. Carolyne Austin asked if financial penalties would be part of the town’s updated code of ethics as there is no mention of it in the current one.
McGonigle said any financial penalties that would be considered would likely have to be referred to the town’s remuneration bylaws.
The update of the code of ethics will continue, and further updates are expected at future meetings.