Months of discussion about a new code of conduct bylaw will continue for Fort Saskatchewan City Council.
Under provincial legislation that came into effect last year, all municipalities in Alberta are now required to set out official rules governing the actions of council members. Fort Saskatchewan council adopted a code of conduct bylaw this summer to meet a July 23 deadline for getting the code in place – in the meantime councillors and staff have continued to work on the wording and format of the bylaw.
After some debate on Tuesday night, council voted to send the revised code of conduct back to staff for some changes, with council planning to have a look at the revised version at a November 20 committee of the whole meeting.
Mayor Gale Katchur was alone in voting against the referral, saying she thinks council has spent enough time on the matter and that she wasn’t hearing a lot of concerns from residents about the code.
"It's just time to move on,” she said. “Get to business and have our staff work on very important things. And this is very important, but I think we've covered it several times."
The code of conduct bylaw will establish regulations for how councillors must behave and communicate as elected officials. The bylaw currently in place includes a number of rules, including that council members make honest and accurate statements, use their position for the common good of the city, and treat the public, city staff and one another with dignity and respect.
Councillor Brian Kelly argued that the continued work on the code wasn’t a waste of time. The ultimate goal, he said, is to bring back a code that council is comfortable with.
“I consider this very important. Quite possibly one of the most important pieces of work that this council will address in its four-year term. I think it's important that we get off to a sound footing that will see us through the next three years.”
Councillor Gordon Harris said he supported the existing bylaw but that he would like to see the city end up with a document that all council members could be comfortable with.

“It's going to create clarity in communication and clarity in how we actually undertake the discharge of our duties."

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