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 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

RCMP looking for missing Duncan teen

Dallas Macleod, 18, was last seen on Aug. 10

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

Wildfire at Mayo Lake in Cowichan Valley out

It is suspected to be human-caused

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Evacuation order issued in Island village due to “risk of falling debris”

Fire continues to threaten town’s only access road

B.C. man designer behind Canucks’ retro jersey

Jeremie White was 20 years old when he told Canucks assistant GM Brian Burke he had a design

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Most Read