The City of Lloydminster is opting for a code of conduct bylaw for its elected officials over a policy document.
“It’s there to regulate us as council and make us aware of our duties and what we can and can’t do,” explained Coun.Jason Whiting.
Council gave first reading to the draft bylaw Monday that has been in the works since last October.
Both the Alberta Municipal Act and the Cities Act will require all municipalities to form a bylaw similar to what Lloydminster is proposing.
“We are being proactive in making sure we have something in place even before that,” said Whiting.
Council decided to seek additional public input before a second reading.
“Right now in the bylaw there’s a 12-month cooling off period that we are unsure about yet,” said Whiting.
During discussion, councillors determined that restricts an end-of-term mayor and councillors from working for the city or doing work for the city until a year after leaving office.
“The elephant in the room was our previous major,” said Coun. Lachlan Cummine referring to Jeff Mulligan who stepped down from office in July 2013 to immediately consult for the city.
Mulligan was elected in 2009 and acclaimed for a second term in 2012.
The draft bylaw covers everything from the role of the CAO and improper use of influence to business relations and prospective employment.
“We take this very seriously,” said Mayor Rob Saunders.
The city’s previous code of conduct was a single page document that lacked checks and balances.
Whiting said now that it’s in bylaw form, it has more pages and substance to it.
“It puts sanctions on anybody who doesn’t follow the code of conduct,” said Whiting. “So I think what we see now is a very good document.”
Council originally sought public input during its Your Voice public forum on Nov. 3 and wants the public to have another look at it.
“There will be a variety of things that may come out of it,” said Whiting.
He said for sure Council will want to talk about the 12-month cooling off period that is currently in place right now.
He said he wants to make sure the code of conduct doesn’t restrict people looking to apply to run on Council.
“We want to ensure there is an opportunity for everybody after council is done to have a fair and open ability to do work in the city, to do work with the city, or be an employee of the city,” said Whiting.
“So it’s something we will investigate more.”
In its current form, the bylaw requires council approval of any agreements between the City of Lloydminster and an entity owned by a member of council.
Cummine argued there should be a distinction between contracts and employment in the cooling off period.
The new recommendations could take several weeks of public review before coming back to council.
“Right now, we’re waiting to hear from the public and we can make revisions from now until the second reading,” said Whiting.
“For sure we’ll be asking the public and hearing from there.”
Whiting said the bylaw will help to build relationships both with council and the public and council and administration by putting everyone on the same page with awareness of their duties and obligations.