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RFD- 3343 Bylaws   Item #   9. g.    
Regular Council Meeting Agenda
Meeting Date: 06/25/2018  
Title:    C-1043-18 - First and Second Reading - Council Code of Conduct Bylaw - Pungur-Buick
Department: Corporate Services  
Strategic Vision Element: This topic relates to all three of the City’s strategic vision elements contained in Council’s Strategic Plan Related Goal:

Information
Request for Decision Summary
The Council Code of Conduct Bylaw has been drafted based on Council's direction and in response to requirements under the Municipal Government Act. The bylaw is intended to further promote transparency and accountability among elected officials.

Proposed Motion
That first reading be given to Bylaw C-1043-18 - Council Code of Conduct Bylaw.

That second reading be given to Bylaw C-1043-18 - Council Code of Conduct Bylaw.
 
 
Background/Analysis
Recent amendments to the Municipal Government Act, RSA 2000 cM-26 (MGA) included the requirement for a municipal council to establish a code of conduct for councillors by July 23, 2018. The intended outcomes of the code of conduct legislation are that municipally elected officials will conduct themselves in an appropriate manner, that all municipally elected officials within a municipality will be held accountable for their conduct, that councillor misconduct will be dealt with consistently within municipalities, and that code of conduct provisions are appropriately enforced.

The Code of Conduct for Elected Officials Regulation requires a municipality to establish a bylaw that, at minimum, includes the following topics:
               (a)          representing the municipality;
               (b)          communicating on behalf of the municipality;
               (c)           respecting the decision-making process;
               (d)          adherence to policies, procedures and bylaws;
               (e)          respectful interactions with councillors, staff, the public and others;
               (f)           confidential information;
               (g)          conflicts of interest;
               (h)          improper use of influence;
               (i)            use of municipal assets and services; and
               (j)            orientation and other training attendance.

Additionally, the Code of Conduct Bylaw (Code) must:
  1. adopt a complaint system outlining who can make complaints, the method by which complaints can be made, the process to determine a complaint’s validity, and the process to determine how sanctions will be imposed for valid complaints;
  2. incorporate by reference any matter required in the Code that is addressed or included in another bylaw; and
  3. include a provision for the review of the Code and any bylaws incorporated by reference at least once every four years from the date the Code was passed.
The bylaw has been drafted with Council’s direction collected through a discussion guide and Committee of the Whole presentation. The draft bylaw has also been reviewed by the Senior Leadership Team.

The following topics were identified by Council for further clarification and have been addressed as laid out below:

Communicating on behalf of the municipality - Councillors speaking as individuals and using social media

Council identified a need to provide clarity as to how to distinguish a personal opinion and from that of the City of Spruce Grove. Wording has been provided in section 3.8 to address this. The same approach can be taken with respect to social media.

The Use of Municipal Resources for Election Campaigns Policy will be brought before Council at a later date for review and will address this matter as well as work to better define the time frame of an election year. 

Social media
Social media is being treated as one tool used for communication with the exception of some specific guidelines set out in section 4.

Respecting the decision-making process - working with boards and committees
Verbiage has been provided in section 2.1(h) to clearly identify a Councillor’s roles and responsibilities on external boards and committees.  

Conflict of interest - accepting gifts
The Council Code of Conduct Bylaw references compliance with the Gifts and Gratuities Policy which applies to city employees and members of Council in the performance of their duties. The policy will be brought before Council at a later date to address the market values threshold for the reporting of gifts received to be more consistent with other municipalities.
 
Complaint and investigation process
The complaint and investigation process is set out with Council having the ultimate authority to make decisions with the assistance of recommendations from third party expertise. This section also stipulates when Council may decide to not hear a complaint and addresses acts of retribution by both a member of Council and an employee.

The complaint and investigation process has been modified respecting Council’s comments.

The process set out in section 14 is generally as follows:
  1. A complaint is received through the City Manager’s Office;
  2. Council will review the complaint to determine if the Code of Conduct has jurisdiction over the complaint considering sections 14.7 and 14.8;
  3. Should the bylaw have jurisdiction, the Mayor will appoint a third party investigator to assess the complaint and make a recommendation to Council with respect to its validity and severity as set out in section 14.4. Council will then determine next steps based on the recommendation of the third party investigator; and
  4. The appropriate investigation and resolution process will be followed by the investigator based on Council’s determination. All recommendations will be brought back to Council as the enforcement authority.
The statute of limitations on hearing a complaint was changed from 180 days to 60 days in section 14.8.   

Reprisal has been addressed separately for Council in section 14.14 and administration in section 14.15 in the bylaw.

Other changes of note
Council had indicated a desire to expand section 3.3 regarding the respectful behaviour of the Council spokesperson to all of Council. This has been addressed in section 2.1(c).

Options/Alternatives
Further amendments can be requested and brought forward at third reading.
Consultation/Engagement
Discussion guides were used to facilitate input from Council and senior administration.
Implementation/Communication
The bylaw will be posted on the City's website once passed.
Impacts
N/A
Attachments
C-1043-18 - Council Code of Conduct Bylaw

City Council and Committee of the Whole agendas and minutes are posted on the City of Spruce Grove website for information purposes only. These agendas may be changed at the discretion of Council by the addition or deletion of items. Anyone reviewing the draft agenda should do so on the understanding that it is subject to change by Council.

All attachments are in PDF format, and require the Adobe Acrobat Reader plug-in for viewing.

Audio from the most recent City Council and Committee of the Whole meetings are available via podcast on the City of Spruce Grove website.



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