The cost of having our Integrity Commissioner review comments made by members of Council in the local media was released today.
$10,462.50 (plus HST).
Having a Code of Conduct for members of Council and an independent person to investigate alleged contraventions of the Code is the right thing to do.
Our Code was developed by Guelph citizens. It establishes a common basis for the ethical behaviour of members of Council and local boards. The standards serve to enhance public confidence that the City’s elected and appointed representatives operate from a base of integrity, justice and courtesy. Having an independent person – not the Mayor, not the CAO – to investigate alleged contraventions of the Code ensures objectivity. That is the role of the Integrity Commissioner. The Integrity Commissioner is appointed by Council and conducts an investigation of an alleged contravention of the Code at the direction of Council. Anyone – a member of Council, City staff or the public – can request an investigation.
When you are talking about an alleged contravention of the code, there is a good chance someone is going to hear something they don’t like. No kidding. Knee-jerk and self-interested reactions in other municipalities has seen Integrity Commissioners let go after they deliver their opinion. It is true. Sometimes what they have to say is not easy to hear or comfortable to deal with. Don’t shoot the messenger.
The experience of other municipalities is that investigations by Integrity Commissioners can become very costly. Our former City Clerk clearly outlined this fact to members of Council when they made the decision to appoint an Integrity Commissioner. This can be avoided by:
- Respecting the Code of Conduct developed by our citizens
- Treating others how you would like to be treated (follow the Golden Rule)
- Learning how to “disagree without being disagreeable” to effectively and professionally execute your oversight responsibilities on behalf of the taxpayer.
In this case, the Integrity Commissioner’s report was about much more than a newspaper article. It was about strengthening Council’s working relationship with the administration and bringing clarity to our respective roles. This is fundamental work to improving service and delivering results to the community. Work that we are doing.
You can read more about the Integrity Commissioner and other accountability and transparency measures by clicking here.
Members of City Council are responsible for providing oversight of annual expenditures of over $400,000,000. Investment in ethical conduct is prudent.
New: In response to Ron’s comment below, I have added the invoice to this post – you can view it here: IC Invoice