Council to consider code of conduct changes Monday

Mayor Mike Bradley plans to embrace the Indigenous tradition of the "talking stick" this term. December 3, 2018 Photo by Melanie Irwin

Nearly 30 changes to Sarnia council’s code of conduct will be considered by committee-of-the-whole Monday.

Mayor Mike Bradley, who brought forward the idea of a code of conduct before it was made law, believes some passages in the current version are too subjective.

He has asked that a reference to making honest statements be removed.

“I believe if someone is really crossing the line, there is a need to deal with that,” said Bradley. “But in this case, it’s almost like a thought police, someone thought you weren’t exactly accurate, or someone thought what you were saying was wrong, I don’t believe that’s the way the political system should work.”

Mayor Bradley has also suggested a passage that councillors refrain from making negative comments or insinuations about staff, or other members of council, when voicing personal opinions be removed.

“I do believe the code of conduct in Sarnia, and other code of conducts across the province, stifle free speech and allow one person to make a judgement on how you’ve spoken about an issue,” he said. “I believe the court of public opinion in every election, will decide on the behaviour of a councillor when it rates to their speech, what they’ve said, what they support.”

He said when a complaint is dismissed as being frivolous or vexatious, individuals who’ve had complaints filed against them, should have the right to waive confidentiality so the public is aware of the nature of the complaint.

Councillor Margaret Bird asked that written complaints be filed with the city solicitor instead of the city clerk.

Council previously agreed that the existing code of conduct would be reviewed by committee-of-the-whole which includes all members.

All of the proposed changes can be viewed here.