A new code of conduct for town councillors and committee members has been approved to clarify what happens if there is a breach of privacy or policy.
The policy, dubbed Council Code of Conduct, was approved Tuesday, May 10 during council’s regular meeting, which provides guidelines towards a certain level of behaviour. In it, there are clear guidelines on releasing information to the press and public and includes details on the acceptance of gifts from the public as well as not engaging in violence.
Should an elected official be in breach of the policy, there are several available actions including: requesting an apology, issuing a written censure including removal of the elected official from a position of deputy mayor or committee chairperson, removal of the official from council committees, education training on ethical and respectful conduct by a third party, request for an inquiry under the Municipal Government Act and legal action.
CAO Albert Flootman said changes are coming for the Municipal Government Act and by next year, council may have to approve this policy as a bylaw as the province is expecting to make a code of conduct a requirement for all municipalities.
Finance committee terms of reference
The Finance and Human Resources Committee of Council is broadening its terms of reference.
Typically the committee would be involved in union negotiations but the role and functions have been broadened to allow committee members to provide advice and input into the town’s long-range fiscal planning.
Coun. Carla Prediger questioned the need for the broadened terms but Coun. Teri Underhill replied that it allows council some say in how the budget will be presented.
Typically during budget deliberations, administration presents budget requests to council with the planning already been done. This would allow council to have some say into what the budget could look like.
Sandra Lund, director of corporate services for the Town of Ponoka, said the input from the committee will be even more valuable for long-term planning.
Facility license policy approved
Licenses and leases of town-owned property gets some clarity after recent questioning of town’s practices by a business.
Licensing allows for up to five years with limited maintenance responsibility and leases would be greater than five years with maintenance responsibility.
Coun. Marc Yaworski asked about setting rates. “How do we set the rate for a commercial enterprise?”
Flootman replied that it is difficult to set a value for a space as the market rate fluctuates.
Commercial license spaces will be advertised for six months prior to the end of each license.