City sees first result of governance review

A new document doesn’t just spell out roles and responsibility of city politicians – t’s a declaration, says Coun. Ted Greves.

“They do this in school, you know for bad kids, make them sign a contract to make them behave and this is what we are doing here,” he said.

In a 5-3 vote Monday, Nanaimo city council adopted a document that lays out the conduct and responsibilities of civic politicians. It also allows for a signed declaration for mayor and council to commit to the new guidelines.

According to Greves, chairman of the Governance Steering Committee, this is the first result of a $75,000 governance review that recommended ways to improve governance at city hall.

While this week's document contains nothing new, supporters said it clearly outlines responsibilities, roles and even how politicians should conduct themselves in meetings.

Coun. Diana Johnstone called it great and believes the guiding principles are ones every councillor should follow. Coun. Diane Brennan said council has heard people are fed up with listening to councillors “bicker and snarl at one another and snarl at people that come to the podium” and want them to act in an adult manner, adding, “so I don't see anything wrong with this.

“Nobody has to sign this. Once you are elected you don’t have to sign it, but you will have to face the public and tell them you refused to sign a document that sets out rules of behaviour in a body like this where things can get quite heated,” she said.

Coun. Bill Bestwick, however, called it a re-acclamation of their vows.

Council has the B.C. Community Charter, Robert’s Rules of Order and the mayor to steer them in the right direction, “so from my perspective we have everything we need,” he said. “I don’t need to sign another oath of office that is a policy.”

Bestwick and councillors Jim Kipp and Bill McKay voted against adopting the document.


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