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Examining The City of Mississauga’s Council Code of Conduct. (Part 6) Use of City Staff, Property, Services etc –and Election Campaigns

January 13th, 2012  

Back to the Mississauga Council Code of Conduct. This blog is a continuation of the following blog entries:

Examining The City of Mississauga’s Council Code of Conduct. (Part 1) Line by line, word by word. Pages 1 through 5 of the Code.

Examining The City of Mississauga’s Council Code of Conduct. (Part 2) “upholding both the letter of the law and the spirit of the laws and policies” Page 6 of the Code.

Examining The City of Mississauga’s Council Code of Conduct. (Part 3) Beware “community events”, “volunteer services”, “arm’s length”… Pages 7 through 10 of the Code.

Examining The City of Mississauga’s Council Code of Conduct. (Part 4) “providing persons…with an understanding and appreciation of the City of Mississauga or the workings of its municipal government” Pages 11 through 13 of the Code.

Examining The City of Mississauga’s Council Code of Conduct. (Part 5) WTF?! “information deemed to be ‘personal information’ under the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act”?!  Pages 14 through 15 of the Code.

City of Mississauga’s Elected Officials’ Records policy now online as a companion piece to the City’s Council Code of Conduct.

Again, for the record, my goal is to go through The City of Mississauga Code of Conduct, line by line, word by word as preparation for future Council deputations.

Once again, I will cut-and-paste the City of Mississauga Code of Conduct directly into this blog entry and offer comment/criticism [bold italics square brackets] when the need arises.

Those interested in accessing the full version of City of Mississauga Council Code of Conduct April 2011 please click here.

 

The City of Mississauga Council Code of Conduct

Council Code of Conduct April, 2011 (Page 16 begins)


Rule No. 5

Use of City Staff, Property, Services and Other Resources:

1. No Member shall use for personal purposes any City staff services, property, equipment,
services, supplies, websites, webboards, or other City-owned materials, other than for
purposes connected with the discharge of City duties.

2. No Member shall obtain personal financial gain from the use or sale of City-developed
intellectual property (for example, inventions, creative writings and drawings), computer
programs, technical innovations or any other item capable of being patented. Members
acknowledge and do not dispute that all such property remains exclusively that of the City
of Mississauga.

3. No Member shall use information gained in the execution of his or her duties that is not
available to the general public, for any purposes other than his or her official duties.

[Item 3’s “shall use information gained” is easily contravened (especially in the Planning Department) and impossible to monitor unless you latch a video surveillance camera to each potential employee-perp. As I’ve stated repeatedly, there isn’t a Corporate policy, by-law, guideline that I’ve examined that City Staff have not violated. Back to Page 16 of the Code.]

Commentary

Members, by virtue of their position, have access to a wide variety of property, equipment,
services and supplies to assist them in the conduct of their City duties as public officials.
While most of this property is provided within the confines of their office, much of it is
transportable or may be provided for home use, given the nature of the demands placed on
Members in carrying out their duties and in recognition of the fact that the City does not
provide constituency offices to Members of Council. Members are held to a higher standard
of behaviour and conduct and therefore should not use such property for any purpose other
than for carrying out their official duties. For clarity, this Rule is intended to prohibit the use
of City resources for purposes such as running a home business. It is not intended to prohibit
occasional personal use, but it should be subject to practical limitations.

[ “Members are held to a higher standard of behaviour and conduct”, oh please! Back to Page 16 of the Code.]

Careful attention should be given to the provisions of the City’s Elected Officials’ Expenses
policy which identifies approvable allowable expenses. During election campaigns, the
provisions of rules 6 and 7 will apply.

4. No Member shall use the services of City staff, or make requests for document or
information from City staff, unless such information is required for the purpose of carrying
out their duties as public officials.

16

END OF PAGE 16 OF THE CODE. PAGE 17 BEGINS

 

Rule No. 6

Election Campaigns:

1. Members are required to follow the provisions of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 and
Members are accountable under the provisions of that statute.

Commentary

Staff should not interpret or provide advice to Members regarding the requirements placed on
candidates for municipal office.

2. No Member shall use the facilities, equipment, supplies, services or other resources of the
City (including Councillor newsletters and individual websites linked through the City’s
website) for any election campaign or campaign-related activities.

a) Despite the foregoing, Members may choose to use their cell phone or other such
equipment and may do so by advising the Integrity Commissioner in writing in
advance and by reimbursing the City for all related expenses associated with such use.

b) Despite the foregoing, Members are allowed to place materials on the City’s election
website, http://www2.mississauga.ca/vote2010/, that is available and authorized for use
by all candidates for municipal and school board office.

3. In a municipal election year, commencing on June 30th until the date of the election,
Members may not publish Councillor newsletters or distribute them in municipal facilities.
All newsletters distributed through the mail must be post-marked by no later than June 30th
in an election year.

4. In a municipal election year, commencing on Nomination Day until the date of the
election, no Member or other candidate for elected office, may book directly or indirectly,
any facility for any purpose that might be perceived as an election campaign purpose if that
facility is being used as a polling station.

Commentary

The restriction on booking facilities ensures election-related functions, or those that could
appear to be election-related, will not occur at any time there is an advance or regular poll at
the facility. The need to set up in advance means that election night parties cannot be held in
the same facilities that polling stations are located in. Members should not authorize any event
that could be perceived as the City providing them with an advantage over other candidates.

[Hazel McCallion’s October 25, 2010 victory party was held at Vic Johnson Arena the same day it was a polling station. I know because I voted there. Back to Page 16 of the Code.]

It is the personal responsibility of Members to ensure that any use of facilities or the services
of municipal staff are carried out in accordance with applicable legislation. Staff are not
responsible for monitoring and advising Members or any other candidates, in this regard.

17

END OF PAGE 17 OF THE CODE. PAGE 18 BEGINS

 

5. Members shall be respectful of the role of the City Clerk in managing the municipal
election process and meeting all statutory requirements in respect thereof. The Clerk must
ensure all candidates are treated equally and no candidate for elected office should
interfere with how the Clerk carries out these duties.

Commentary

The Municipal Elections Act, 1996 clearly states that it is the responsibility of the City Clerk to
conduct the election and take all necessary actions to ensure municipal elections meet all
statutory requirements.

6. No Members shall use the services of persons for campaign related activities during hours
in which those persons receive any compensation from the City.

18

END OF PAGE 18 OF THE CODE.

Signed,

MISSISSAUGAWATCH

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

1. The City of Mississauga Code of Conduct April 2011

2. Canada in the Making Common Law and Civil Law

Canada has inherited two systems of law: civil law from the French and common law from the English. This page will describe and give the history of each system as it relates to Canada

Related essays on this site:
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
The Sources of Law in Canada
The Written and Unwritten Constitution
Representative Government
Responsible Government
Canada’s Constitutional History
British Common Law

3. Video of MISSISSAUGAWATCH’s first (meandering and unsuccessful) attempt to merge the Mississauga’s Council Code of Conduct with the Mississauga Judicial Inquiry’s “Ethical Infrastructure” report.

As I watched it today, I winced at how unfocussed this video is —just all over the map. But it introduces the vital concept of “sanitized” reports. Sanitized reports/documents/communication is the Key to Mississauga’s success. It was the City of Mississauga’s sanitization efforts that prompted me to warn people today with:

Be it a Corporate Policy, Corporate Report, By-Law, Guideline, those drafting it meticulously weigh every single word. No word makes it on to a City document without Staff’s carefullest of scrutiny. Yes, “carefullest”.

The City of Mississauga’s wordsmiths are especially fond of vague words, like “transparent” and “accountable”. Fact is, words can be so vague as to become meaningless, become atrocities —like “transparent” and “accountable”. Like “appropriate”. Like “subject to confidentiality and disclosure rules”. Like “Trust, Quality, Excellence”.

BEWARE of TRAPS in Mississauga Code of Conduct if filing complaint with integrity commissioner (7:34 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

“To regain her power, expect McCallion to essentially build Team Hazel, for next year’s election. Team Hazel
would consist of four sitting councillors and seven candidates hand-selected by the Hurricane, who back the mayor.”

—Ted Woloshyn, Toronto Sun

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