Examining The City of Mississauga’s Council Code of Conduct. (Part 15) Compliance with the Code of Conduct
January 30th, 2012
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 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.
Examining The City of Mississauga’s Council Code of Conduct. (Part 7) Improper Use of Influence and Business Relations. Pages 19 through 20 of the Code.
Examining The City of Mississauga’s Council Code of Conduct. (Part 10) Conduct Respecting Staff and the HUGE hidey-hole loophole. Pages 25 through 26 of the Code.
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.
Council Code of Conduct April, 2011 (Page 31 –final page begins)
Rule No. 18
Compliance with the Code of Conduct:
1. Upon receipt of recommendations from the Integrity Commissioner, Council may, in
circumstances where the Integrity Commissioner has determined there has been a violation
of the Code of Conduct, impose either of two penalties:
i) a reprimand; or
ii) suspension of the remuneration paid to the Member in respect of his/her services as a Member of Council or a local board, as the case may be, for a period of up to 90 days
[Interesting reference to “a local board”. It’s not really defined. However, regarding “board” it looks like the Code’s Rule No. 9 Conduct of Council at Committee Meetings and When Representing the City states:
3. Members shall make every effort to participate diligently in the activities of the committees, agencies, boards, commissions and advisory committees to which they are appointed by the City or by virtue of being an elected official.
The 2001 Municipal Act defines “local board” as:
“local board” means a municipal service board, transportation commission, public library board, board of health, police services board, planning board, or any other board, commission, committee, body or local authority established or exercising any power under any Act with respect to the affairs or purposes of one or more municipalities, excluding a school board and a conservation authority; (“conseil local”)
The 2001 Municipal Act authorizes municipalities to establish their own codes of conduct as seen here:
Code of conduct
223.2(1) Without limiting sections 9, 10 and 11, those sections authorize the municipality to establish codes of conduct for members of the council of the municipality and of local boards of the municipality. 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 98.
So, the City’s Council Code of Conduct’s reference to “local board” and the 2001 Municipal Act’s definition of “local board” would suggest that conduct of elected officials sitting on the Peel Police Services Board would fall within the mandate of the Integrity Commissioner.
Nope, sorry —citizens can’t get there from here. The 2001 Municipal Act ensured that elected officials sitting on police services boards are exempt from investigations by municipal integrity commissioners!
For the record, the 2001 Municipal Act, Part V.1, (ironically named) the “ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY” section, authorizes integrity commissioners to investigate “local boards”, then changes the meaning of “local boards” as defined in Part 1 of the Act!
“local board” means a local board other than,
(a) a society as defined in subsection 3 (1) of the Child and Family Services Act,
(b) a board of health as defined in subsection 1 (1) of the Health Protection and Promotion Act,
(c) a committee of management established under the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007,
(d) a police services board established under the Police Services Act,
(e) a board as defined in section 1 of the Public Libraries Act,
(f) a corporation established in accordance with section 203,
(g) such other local boards as may be prescribed; (“conseil local”)
And any elected officials sitting on any of these “local boards” are exempt! And notice that malevolent “(g) such other local boards as may be prescribed; (“conseil local”)”? If I’m reading that correctly, elected officials can exempt any other local board they don’t want the integrity commissioner peeping into. Most obvious example would be elected officials sitting on the Enersource Board! Back to Page 31 of the Code.]
2. The Integrity Commissioner may also recommend that Council take the following actions:
i) removal from membership of a committee;
ii) removal as chair of a committee;
iii) repayment or reimbursement of monies received;
iv) return of property or reimbursement of its value;
v) a written and/or verbal request for an apology to Council, the complainant, or both.
[Items i) and ii) should prove interesting… Back to Page 31 of the Code.]
Members are accountable to the public through the election process. Between elections they
may become disqualified and lose their seat if convicted of an offence under the Criminal
Code of Canada or for failing to declare a conflict of personal interest under the Municipal
Conflict of Interest Act, or for certain violations of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996.
[This paragraph is a wordy-wordy way of saying, “Members are only accountable on during the few hours every four years when the voting booth is open” … Back to Page 30 of the Code.]
In addition, the Municipal Act, 2001 authorizes Council to impose either of the two penalties
on a Member following a report by the Integrity Commissioner that, in his/her opinion, there
has been a violation of the Code of Conduct.
[A “reasonably informed person” would suspect that the Municipal Act, 2001 was written to favour municipalities, not the citizens they serve. A “reasonably informed person” would also suspect that the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) lobbied into overdrive massaging the Act to their advantage —meaning, create the illusion of accountability for the naive reader. “Naive” is not meant to be derogatory —few people could be as naive as I once was.
Here’s something else. The 2001 Municipal Act grants integrity commissioners the power to transfer their powers and duties to “any person”. From the Act:
(3) The [Integrity] Commissioner may delegate in writing to any person, other than a member of council, any of the Commissioner’s powers and duties under this Part. 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 98.
Imagine how that section can be misused!
And the Municipal Act’s truly contemptuous of the public with this statement:
(5) The [Integrity] Commissioner is not required to be a municipal employee. 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 98.
Fact is, once hired by Mayor and Councillors, the Integrity Commissioner becomes a municipal employee!
The public are such SUCKERS!
END OF PAGE 31, THE LAST PAGE OF THE CODE.
I’ve finished going line by line through all 31 pages of the City of Mississauga’s Council Code of Conduct.
Now comes the hard part…