Friday, October 13, 2017

Town of Pincher Creek council code of conduct bylaw passes first reading

Toni Lucas - Council for the Town of Pincher Creek gave Council Code of Conduct Bylaw No. 1621-17 first reading, which it passed after much discussion during their regular meeting on Monday, October 10, the last public meeting before Monday's election. The Municipal Government Act states that "A council may pass bylaws in relation to the procedure and conduct of council, council committees and other bodies established by council, the conduct of councillors and the conduct of members of council committees and other bodies established by the council". In Pincher Creek this bylaw is to be reviewed every four years, and governs the code of conduct a councillor is to follow during their time as a councillor of the Town of Pincher Creek.

A document from Town administration states "Councillors are not only directors, but they are also public trustees, and owe fiduciary duties to both their municipal corporation and their communities, specifically they owe duties of good faith, trust, confidence and candor. A key component of being a fiduciary requires councillors to put the interest of the municipality ahead of their personal interest. The code of conduct outlines the needs and procedures."

Councillor Doug Thornton was concerned about a section in the bylaw which refers to the training of a councillor, which is advised to take within 90 days of being elected. He said the new Municipal Government Act will require training, and the wording in this bylaw said the training is written as advised. "I think that we may need to revise schedule A," he said "I don't know what other word could be used there, but I think it needs to be a little stronger than advised." Suggestions came from councillors of changing the word to 'obligated' or 'required'. CAO Laurie Wilgosh said to her knowledge, the government has not yet made it a requirement to take the training, although it is a requirement of the Town to provide training within ninety days.

Mayor Don Anderberg said, "The drawback of putting something into our bylaw to make it mandatory is that we, generally speaking, can't override a higher government statute."

Council voted to pass the motion for first reading and will revisit the bylaw at a later meeting for second and third reading before it is potentially enacted as a bylaw.

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