Leadership failure

Dear Editor:

In June 2015, the province examined the accountability and transparency requirements for municipalities, and the tools for locally-determined integrity frameworks, to ensure they provide a greater benefit and meet the changing needs of municipalities and the public.

In October 2017, in a unanimous decision, Centre Wellington council approved a Code of Conduct for members of council which has since been determined by staff to be inadequate going forward.

In June 2019, council passed a motion to defer (in order to gather further feedback) a significant staff-proposed amendment to the Code of Conduct.

In the six months since June 2019, the township has failed to advertise and hold a public information centre on this important proposed amendment of the Code of Conduct, which affects the rights of citizens. Furthermore, the general public has not been invited by the township to provide feedback on this important tool.

Back in 2015, under Mayor Kelly Linton’s leadership, council approved a major integrity policy decision that “the township will make well-informed decisions.” Clearly, a member of council cannot make a decision with integrity if he/she knows, or reasonably should know, that he/she is not well-informed in the matter.

One of the principle enforcement tools in the Code of Conduct for members of council is the right of the people they serve to file a complaint against members with the Integrity Officer if they believe that the Code of Conduct has been contravened.

However, unlike members of council and staff who have the right to seek advice from the Integrity Officer at taxpayer expense, the ordinary taxpayers are unfairly prejudiced by being denied that same right.

The township CAO has not replied to citizen correspondence of Dec. 6 that asks the CAO, amongst other things, to explain how the township proposes to communicate openly and engage the public in this important community issue of amending the Code of Conduct.

It is a major failure of good government leadership by Linton when our mayor remains silent while staff fail to meaningfully inform and engage the citizens of Centre Wellington.

Ian Rankine,