Sir: I am responding to your April 25 opinion piece titled “Code needs revisiting.”
Council has asked for more training on the Code of Conduct. Staff will work with the Integrity Commissioner to ensure that additional training is arranged for council members. After the training, council may direct administration to review and provide recommendations to council to amend the Code of Conduct as needed.
I wish clarify some of the statements reported in your editorial.
Council members have the right to bring forward concerns of constituents; this right is in no way restricted by the Code of Conduct. This right includes raising concerns about the actions of our employees.
The Code of Conduct guides how members of council exercise this right. I assure you that the CAO and by extension members of administration take direction as given by the elected officials. However, the CAO and staff cannot take direction from individual members of council. We take our direction from a majority of council voting in a meeting of council.
You comment that “a court of law sided with Brent DeNure over his building permit and damages…” is incorrect. The court gave an order that held the status quo on the dispute while the parties prepared materials for a full court hearing. The parties ultimately negotiated a final settlement before the court hearing. The court did not make any final decision.
Regarding a complaint filed after the municipal election, it is established law in Ontario that a complaint can be filed about any member of council up until the date the council is dissolved. The municipal election was held on Oct. 22. However, the new council was not sworn in until Dec. 3.
Additionally, the law will not allow a complaint to be investigated during an election so as to avoid tainting the outcome of an election. Therefore, the complaint had to wait until after the election.
CAO, Municipality of Chatham-Kent