The time for Kelowna to adopt a Code of Conduct is before city councillors start throwing forks at each other - InfoNews

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The time for Kelowna to adopt a Code of Conduct is before city councillors start throwing forks at each other

June 17, 2019 - 5:15 PM

KELOWNA - With a history of friendly, cooperative city councils, some Kelowna councillors did not take kindly to the suggestion that they adopt a code of conduct for themselves.

The topic started the day this morning, June 17, as councillors discussed a staff report. 

“I wrote at the top of this report: ‘blowing bubbles,’” Coun. Charlie Hodge said. “You cannot legislate bad behaviour or poor manners or narcissistic attitudes.... It’s up to individuals to monitor our own actions.”

He mentioned a time Coun. Luke Stack took him aside and gave him "a dressing down.”

Hodge went home, was upset and somewhat angry at first, but eventually realized Stack was right so he learned something from it.

For his part, Stack said he would prefer the province impose a Code of Conduct rather than having to draft one locally.

Coun. Gail Given took a different perspective when she noted that “we’re only one election away from a council that doesn’t get along.”

Coun. Maxine DeHart added a note about an incident some years ago in Nanaimo where one city councillor threw a fork at another.

Codes of Conduct are not required in B.C. and cities have limited powers to enforce such codes. While there are rules against things like talking publicly about in camera items, there’s no specific penalty if a councillor is rude to fellow councillors or the public.

While some councillors didn’t put a Code of Conduct high on their list of priorities, Coun. Brad Sieben noted “I’m shocked there isn’t one already.” And Mayor Colin Basran said he could have really used such a code when he was first elected as mayor in 2014.

“A lot of it is common sense,” he said. “But, these days, sense is a lot less common.”

City clerk Stephen Fleming pointed out that the best time to draft such a policy is before there are problems so that it focuses on behavior and not individuals.

Basran asked staff to schedule a time over the next few months when council can get together for a couple of hours to draft a Code of Conduct that will be reviewed by each newly elected council during their orientation sessions.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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