Kelowna city council rejects proposed code of conduct

Click to play video: 'Kelowna City Council rejects new Code of Conduct'
Kelowna City Council rejects new Code of Conduct
WATCH: Kelowna’s city council has voted against a proposed Code of Conduct. The vote means the proposal will now go back to staff for re-evaluation. – Jun 7, 2023

Kelowna city council voted against a proposed code of conduct on Monday, June 5, one that would alter the way it interacts with the public and media.

During the meeting, concerns regarding transparency were raised by councilors, resulting in a vote to have the proposal sent back to staff for modifications.

One of the main points of contention in the proposed code looks at the way council communicates with both the public and the media.

“In an effort to promote respect and integrity for council decision-making, council members will accurately communicate the decision of the council, even if they disagree with the majority decision of council,” states the code.

Mayor Tom Dyas says this would help council understand that the mayor is “always the voice of council initially, depending on the situation,” adding that it will still allow councilors to have their voice.

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“Some of the concerns with regards to what (council members) were able to communicate and what they were unable to communicate; prior to a meeting what they were able to communicate and after a meeting what they were able to communicate. That was the purpose of the code of conduct,” said Dyas.

Click to play video: 'Kelowna city council to consider implementing a Code of Conduct'
Kelowna city council to consider implementing a Code of Conduct

Governance consultant Norah Bowman says with this code it appears councilors are being asked to speak accurately about the work and decisions of city council.

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“It looks as if a city councilor or mayor could describe a decision taken, explain the reasons it was voted for or against by city councilors and mayor, and then they could express their disagreement with it and their objection to it,” said Bowman.

During Monday’s council meeting, members noted they want to make sure that values like transparency and honesty should be upheld in any new policy.

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“I know how important it is to get your message out, and the people who voted for you want to hear where you stand ethically, morally. They want to know what your political position is. It’s very important to speak up, without going against the grain of council,” said city councilor Mohini Singh.

“Last term, there was an issue in the media regarding a young person that had been abused, and no one on council had spoken to the media. There was a public outcry about it because people expect their leaders to have a position to support the community,” said city councillor Loyal Wooldridge.

No date has been set for when council will meet again to discuss the amended code of conduct.

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