Union of B.C. Municipalities delegates Sept. 15 called on Victoria to create a legal requirement that all local governments in British Columbia must consider the adoption or updating of a code of conduct at least once early in each new term of office.
Fernie Mayor Ange Qualizza said poor council conduct could weaken trust, harm staff morale and harm local government finances.
She said standards would allow councils to work harmoniously.
North Central Local Government Association director Steve Forseth said the resolution does not go far enough. He said there have been times he has not felt supported at his board table and called for the resolution to be made stronger before he could support it.
Squamish mayor Karen Elliott also agreed it did not go far enough. She said the UBCM executive had shied away from stronger wording.
Peachland Mayor Cindy Fortin said she’d “love to see this mandatory.”
But, she called such things hard to enforce.
However, another speaker said a code can also be used as a weapon to enforce the will of the majority and could be bullying.
Delegates voted 61.7% in favour of the resolution.
The resolution called for:
• Introducing a legislative requirement that all local governments in British Columbia must consider the adoption or updating of a code of conduct at least once early in each new term of office;
• Working collaboratively with UBCM and others to consider the design of a mandatory educational module that would support responsible conduct by local elected officials;
• Updating the oath of office prescribed by regulation to embed the foundational principles identified by the Working Group on Responsible Conduct; and
• Providing guidance for local governments that have established an oath of office by bylaw so that these oaths may be updated with the same foundational principles for responsible conduct.