Langford council voted to pass a code of conduct and respectful workplace policy during Monday’s (Feb. 6) lengthy council meeting.
The code governs city councillors’ behaviour, including rules on conflicts of interest, requirements for councillors to strive to represent all Langford constituents equally and communicate council decisions accurately even if they disagree with them, among a number of other regulations. The policy also outlines an informal and formal complaint procedure, if the policy is broken.
Provincial rules required council to consider a code of conduct less than six months after its first meeting (which would be May 2023), per the Community Charter.
The code of conduct also applies to Langford’s various committees – which council voted to cut back on during the same meeting.
The number of committees was slashed from five to two while council reviews its strategic priorities and goes through its budget process.
The respectful workplace policy is supplementary to the code of conduct and applies to all City of Langford employees, including councillors. That policy will replace the existing workplace bullying and harassment policy.
Coun. Mary Wagner thanked staff for adding stronger language which will give staff who feel they have been mistreated a procedure for voicing concerns.
An online code of conduct is also coming. That piece will look at how councillors, city staff and the City of Langford uses social media, according to Braden Hutchins, director of corporate services for the city.
The province passed the Introduction of Municipal Affairs Statutes Amendment Act in November, which required municipalities to publicly consider drafting a code of conduct. The change was brought into effect by the province on June 13 last year, and council directed staff to prepare a policy on Dec. 5.
A code of conduct has come before Langford council in the past. Last term’s council decided to defer their decision on a code of conduct until they received more provincial guidance back in March 2022.
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