Code needs clear way to tell public what’s happened
Dear mayor and council:
North Cowichan Coun. Al Siebring’s push for standards of conduct at municipal hall is laudable, but begs questions about who is best to write and enforce that behavioural code.
The idea municipal staff is now tasked with writing that conduct standard, and even a new oath of office, is laughable. Indeed, it was a staffer who complained hard-working Coun. Joyce Behnsen had bullied and harassed that employee.
I hope the coming conduct code and oath investigates Siebring’s studious findings about codes and oaths in other municipalities. I also hope it involves the Community Charter and other legalities to help define bullying and harassment. I want a clear way of telling the public details of such infractions too. They sure were not outlined publicly in Behnsen’s case several months ago. Mayor and council simply said privacy laws prevented the public from knowing the optics of her alleged actions, and even which department was involved. How are we to fully understand what Behnsen was alleged to have done before she was disciplined by council, then kicked off all municipal committees? Apparently a mediator’s definition of bullying and harassment was used in her case.
I hope our coming conduct code and oath clears this legal, moral and bureaucratic fog. Such ongoing antics sure don’t instill trust in our North Cowichan municipality.
Peter W. Rusland