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

B.C. BUDGET: Fare freeze, free travel for seniors on BC Ferries

A complete fare freeze will be put into place on major routes, and fares will be rolled back on smaller routes by 15 per cent

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

BC BUDGET: Payroll tax replaces medical premiums

Health spending to increase $1.5 billion for drugs, primary care teams

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Canucks blow three goal lead, lose to Avalanche in overtime

Vancouver struggled on the penalty kill, as Colorado scored all five goals on the powerplay

Widow of avalanche victim sues Golden lodge operator

A woman from Alberta is suing guides, their mountain guide association and the lodge operator for negligence

BC BUDGET: NDP hope to nix court delays with $15 million cash influx

Union says funding could stop sheriffs from leaving for higher paid jobs

Cattlemen urge B.C. to prevent erosion caused during 2017 wildfire season

Other concerns are fencing restoration and repair, and a lack of feed for cattle.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Follow the 2017 Tour de Rock

Follow the Tour de Rock, as they pedal more than 1,000 kilometres fundraising to combat paediatric cancer

Patrick Brown’s Tory leadership bid fate looms

Brown’s bid to for Tory leadership to be decided on Wednesday

Duncan cousins found guilty of aggravated sexual assault

Assault so violent, victim required surgery

Most Read