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Bylaws   Item #:
Committee of the Whole Meeting Agenda
C-1106-20 - Committee Code of Conduct Bylaw - Frostad
Strategic Vision Element:
Request for Decision Summary
Currently, public members of Council established committees and quasi-judicial bodies established pursuant to the
Municipal Government Act (MGA) are not subject to a standardized code of conduct establishing ethical standards, as they do not fall under Council’s Code of Conduct Bylaw nor Administration’s internal policies and procedures. Section 146.1(3) of the MGA allows Council to establish by bylaw a code of conduct for Council established committees. Consequently, proposed C-1106-20 - Committee Code of Conduct Bylaw has been drafted for the Committee of the Whole's consideration.
That Administration incorporate any feedback from Committee of the Whole into proposed C-1106-20 - Committee Code of Conduct Bylaw and present to Council for consideration.
Municipal Government Act (MGA) was amended in 2017 to make council code of conduct bylaws mandatory for all municipalities across Alberta. The same amendments made code of conduct bylaws for committees optional. C-1084-19 - Council Code of Conduct Bylaw was passed at the October 15, 2019 Council meeting; the bylaw applies only to Councillors and not to public members of Council established committees.
Currently, public appointees to council committees are not subject to a standardized code of conduct establishing ethical standards, as they do not fall under the Council Code of Conduct Bylaw nor Administration’s internal policies and procedures. Proposed C-1106-20 - Committee Code of Conduct Bylaw establishes a standardized code of conduct for all council committees, whether those committees are governing, quasi-judicial or advisory in nature and whether those committees are known as "board", "commission", "committee", "tribunal" or "task force". This means that all current and future council committees and quasi-judicial bodies such as the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) are subject to this bylaw. However, Council members who sit on a council committee are still subject to the C-1084-19 - Council Code of Conduct Bylaw and not proposed C-1106-20 - Committee Code of Conduct Bylaw.
Every section of the bylaw would apply to the different type of committees – governing body, advisory body or quasi-judicial body, with the exception of section 11 – Communicating on Behalf of the City or Committee. Under this section no members of an advisory body would be permitted to speak on behalf of the committee. Since they are simply advisory, their recommendations would be provided to Council and either the Mayor or the Corporate Communications department would communicate any decisions of Council stemming from the committee’s recommendations. However, since a governing body would be granted authority by Council to make decisions on their behalf and since a quasi-judicial body is separate from Council, the chairs of these committees would be permitted to communicate with the media. Currently, there are no Council established committees that are governing bodies.
Quasi-judicial bodies, such as SDAB are unique from council committees as they must adhere to administrative law principles of procedural fairness and rules of natural justice. As such, the City Clerk’s Office may look at developing a more specific code of conduct for SDAB in the future. However, in the interim the proposed C-1106-20 – Committee Code of Conduct is sufficient to ensure public members of SDAB adhere to ethical standards.
An Administrative Policy was approved governing Employee's Code of Conduct and Administration intends to draft Administrative Policies governing the code of conduct of volunteers and public members of Administrative Committees in the near future. Once proposed C-1106-20 - Committee Code of Conduct Bylaw and Administrative Policies for volunteers and public members of Administrative Committees are approved, all entities representing the City will be subject to standardized codes of conduct.
Committee of the Whole could choose not to consider C-1106-20 - Committee Code of Conduct Bylaw. If this alternative is chosen, Council may simply receive the report for information using the following motion:
That the presentation on proposed C-1106-20 - Committee Code of Conduct Bylaw be received as information.
The City Clerk's Office inventoried the existing Council established committees that include public members in their composition:
Proposed C-1106-20 - Committee Code of Conduct Bylaw was circulated to the above-mentioned committee's administrative liaisons for review. Economic Development Advisory Committee
Community Road Safety Advisory Committee
Subdivision and Development Appeal Board
Upon passage of proposed C-1106-20 - Committee Code of Conduct Bylaw, the bylaw would be provided to all current and future Council established committees. It would be the expectation of all current and future committee members to review the Committee Code of Conduct Bylaw and sign Schedule "A" of the bylaw, Committee Code of Conduct Declaration thereby affirming their understanding, acceptance and adherence to the Committee Code of Conduct Bylaw.
Proposed C-1106-20 - Committee Code of Conduct Bylaw would provide a standardized code of conduct establishing ethical standards for Council established committees which would ensure consistent and uniform expectations of, and consequences for, infractions by public members of Council established committees.
Pursuant to section 14(c)(i) of proposed C-1106-20 - Committee Code of Conduct Bylaw, if an independent third party investigator is appointed to assess and investigate a complaint made against a public member of a Council established committee there would be a financial impact. The extent of this impact would depend on the complexity of the assessment of the complaint and any subsequent investigation. However, the wording of this section indicates that such an appointment is discretionary and therefore financial impacts could be avoided if they would prove to be too costly.