The code of ethics bylaw that governs Swift Current city council members has once again been updated.
The update to the ethics bylaw this time comes with quite a few new components, along with various changes to existing ones.
Since 2015, The Cities Act has introduced provisions to both improve and provide new rules regarding conflicts of interest in city council. In short, this bylaw provides parameters that council members can operate between while maintaining a standard of ethical behaviour.
This update to the bylaw is one that has been worked on since last year when it was last updated. The ongoing process is to ensure that it is well maintained.
Jackie Schlamp, the city clerk for the City of Swift Current, read out the matter to city council and provided a more thorough breakdown of its specifics.
"For all members, it's used as a guide for behaviour respecting obligations when fulfilling their duties," said Schlamp. "It establishes and provides for procedures for investigations should something ever arise or enforcement of those standards. The bylaw is to be interpreted as is exhaustive, but on occasion, council will find it necessary to adopt additional rules to keep conduct in order and protect the public interest."
The updated bylaw is an improvement upon the existing rendition and now more acutely covers things like confidentiality, election campaigns, use of city resources, and podiums like social media.
"We have to ensure that as an elected official for the City, that you are adhering to the most ethical standards in the way that they are conducting City business or members of committees are conducting business on behalf of the City," stated Schlamp.
This update to the ethics bylaw comes at the same time as a review has been ongoing at the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Health Care Foundation. When asked if the close proximity had any relation to those proceedings, Schlamp quickly dismissed the notion, describing how the timeline for preparing this update to the bylaw played out.
"Absolutely not," said Schlamp. "No, this is a bylaw that we established last year that needed to be updated. When you go to update a bylaw, you do vary various skills of resources that you rely on, and then you do your research, you write your bylaw, you do some legal research within it, and then we also reach out to our legal counsel for them to review it as well. There's no correlation whatsoever."
If someone believes a member of council is operating outside the ethics bylaw, they can head over to city hall and fill out a formal complaint. There is a $100 charge that needs to be paid when filing the complaint. If the complaint is found to be justified and sustained, the fee will be returned. The fee will be kept if it is found to be a frivolous complaint.