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Child drowns at Elk Island ParkNEWS/Entries/2018/7/11_Child_drowns_at_Elk_Island_Park.html

Volume 23, Number 27, Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Council  code of conduct reviewed

I applaud City Council's new Code of Conduct. It is important that Council members discuss and agree upon how they should conduct themselves.

It is especially important for Council with so many newcomers. Not that the Councils of the past were particularly good at this.

Almost every Council term has seen at least one of the commonly accepted rules of conduct broken. Most have been minor, such as being rude to another member or to staff, or refusing to accept a decision of Council and continuing to speak up against it.

These incidents had few consequences, partly because most happened before there even was an official code of conduct.

But even with a code of conduct, it seems unlikely that any action will ever be taken. Council members are simply too reluctant to speak out against each other.

The last Council showed how difficult it will be to enforce any code. Former Councillor Sheldon Bossert clearly did wrong by making the motion to purchase a car for the library that resulted in a $200 referral bonus for him from the auto dealer. Yes, the amount of money was small. Yes, he eventually donated his bonus to the library. But it was, and remains the most serious breach of public trust I have ever witnessed.

And Council did nothing, despite having approved a code of conduct with many possible penalties including, for example, removing Bossert from the library board.

It reminds me of the axiom that the best constitutions often belong to the worst countries. In the end it is all up to the quality of the individual members of Council and not the rules, however well written.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Fort welcomes new firefightersNEWS/Entries/2018/7/11_Fort_welcomes_new_firefighter_recruits.html

Code of conduct can’t fix stupid

City Council has approved its own new code of conduct, including new restrictions and a complaint process.

But this new code is up for further review again this fall at the request of Councillor Brian Kelly, who wants Fort Saskatchewan to use the code suggested by the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association.

Kelly said he liked the proposed Fort Saskatchewan code until he read the Association’s suggestion, which he now says is clearer and stronger.

Fort Saskatchewan new code replaces a 2016 document, and reflects changes to Alberta’s Municipal Government Act, and City of Fort Saskatchewan experience.

The new code needed to be approved by July 23.

The code includes more detailed rules on gifts and conflicts of interest, as well as respectful interaction with councillors, staff, the public and others.

New rules include a requirement for all members to respect the decisions made by Council as a whole and “support the effective decision making of Council through the process set out by legislation and bylaws, and not that of their own personal opinion.”

Council members must make now public a list of all gifts received when the total exceeds $500 in any year.

A new rule restricting the use of cell phones and other electronic devices has also been added.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018