Halifax councillor pushing for clearer code of conduct guidelines
Published Tuesday, November 14, 2017 9:20PM AST
Halifax councillor Tony Mancini is asking for clearer guidelines on how elected officials conduct themselves after numerous complaints about their conduct were received..
"The first day I was elected they gave us a package of information to read … that included the code of conduct and I was really puzzled that we were going to sign it and not look at it again until four years from now," says Mancini.
It's an issue council has been forced to deal with a lot lately.
"I definitely think in today’s political climate and the things we deal with and talk about and how we engage, reviewing the code of conduct allows us to figure out are we doing it the way we should or not," says councillor Lindell Smith.
Halifax Regional Municipality spokesperson Nick Ritcey says there are currently 13 outstanding councillor complaints, but would not say who they are directed towards or if any are related.
The complaints were dealt with Tuesday in a private session of council closed to media. The current code of conduct has three possible resolutions – an apology, counselling or the removal of a councillor from a committee.
One of the things Mancini would like to see is the creation of an integrity or ethics commissioner.
"I think an ethics commissioner or officer looks at it more objectively than we can because we all have relationships," he says.
But not everyone is on board. Gloria McCluskey spent more than 23 years representing Dartmouth on council and is still a keen observer of what happens at City Hall.
She doesn't feel a review of the code of conduct is necessary.
"For taxpayers to be faced with the bill for an integrity officer is ridiculous," says McCluskey. "If a councillor who gets elected by residents to represent them, if he can't follow the Code of Conduct he shouldn't be there.”
Council is still discussing this issue.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Allan April.