Council and Administration now have a draft of the Ethical Governance and Decision Making Policy. The policy aims to make sure decision making and procurement processes are “fair, equitable and transparent” and to give direction when dealing with lobbying efforts and attempts to influence the processes. Currently there is no policy in effect according to Mayor Gerald Aalbers.
The draft states that is not intended to prevent resident, community groups or people with legitimate concerns from engaging with a member of council or administration.
At the Governance and Priorities Committee Meeting, council reviewed the draft of the policy.
“We need to be able to have a look at things and be accountable to both the taxpayer and businesses, so that all businesses are treated fairly. We are ensuring to taxpayers that there’s clarity, there’s transparency, accountability when it comes to business awards,” says Aalbers.
Councillor Michael Diachuk spoke up during the GPC meeting about extending the definition of family as outlined in the draft. The draft currently defines family as spouse, parent, siblings, children, grandparents and grandchildren. It includes common-law, in-law and step relationships.
“I think sometimes when we look at the relationships that families do have, they tend to be very closely connected and I think in part what we’re trying to do is make sure that it’s really crystal clear around the behavior that we want for our council. If there is a relationship with a cousin or another relative, then being aware of it, it’s easy to excuse yourself and not get yourself into a situation where you can be accused of having a pecuniary interest,” says Diachuk.
The councillor adds that he thinks the draft is a good first step.
“It’s been the intention of this council, and administration certainly supports it, that the decisions we make are in the interest of all city members and not in any way bias towards us. I think [this] policy goes a really long way towards sending that message.”
The policy is a recommendation from the governance audit from earlier this year. A revision will be brought back to council to review at a later date.