Many councillors need a code of ethics
Re: “Code of ethics ‘will make us all better councillors’”, (Gazette, Nov. 29)
Three cheers for our elected representatives who “are discussing a code of ethics for themselves.” I’m also pleased with their promise to brush up on “the roles and responsibilities of councillors,” as there seems to be some confusion about that. But what happened? Did they just now realize that an election looms on the horizon and past performance is in the spotlight?
Of course, the key requirement of a councillor’s role is to deal with the constituency and taxes in a transparent and accountable manner. The dictionary defines accountable as “required or expected to justify actions or decisions.”
In my experience, town council behaves as though it’s NOT their job to hear complaints or to answer letters from the public. I did receive one written response to my inquiries but it was condescending, to say the least, and did not answer my questions. At a town meeting, when asked to justify their decision, the reply was “we don’t have to.”
One councillor encouraged me to be the squeaky wheel but when I started “squeaking” I was accused of harassment.
Three of the four councillors suggested that I get letters to support my request for the upgrade of a neglected intersection in the Lake Cowichan Secondary School zone. I collected nearly 100 signatures on a petition, including 40 school staff members. Residents, businesses, the food bank executive, teachers, education assistants, and the school principal all signed but both town council and school trustees have chosen to ignore us.
Next year when we vote, I and other constituents will remember those who blatantly disregarded our concerns.
Although an important document to which the next slate of councillors can refer, it remains to be seen whether or not creating a Code of Ethics at this late stage will allow current members to save face and be re-elected. Before anyone takes public office it should be clearly understood what will be expected in terms of duties and responsibilities, as well as behaviour.