It is with sadness that I (Arthur King) have learned of the demise or future demise of bylaw 4381/5530 City ethics bylaw.
Mr. Puffalt (city administrator) has suggested a review, as per instructions, of ethics bylaws to be updated as a living moving agenda.
However, City council voted 6-0 Sept 27 for a standalone bylaw amendment.
1. expand complaints…
2. provide specific leave of absence to run for federal or provincial election…
3. giving administration the leeway (power) to monitor matters that they think council should review.
It is the above item #2 that causes me great concern.
City councilors and Mayor fill out nomination papers to run for council. They are aware of the duration of the contract and the remuneration and scope of the contract which would include ethics and bylaws concerning ethics.
After elected all are required to swear an oath of office.
Item 1. I will be true and faithful and impartial to the best of my ability and knowledge to perform the duties of the office. That is in fact the contract they entered into to provide their remuneration as well as duties.
Item 2. If the said party could take a leave of absence to run for the selected party and won, they would be in violation of their oath and contract failing to perform in the best interest of the taxpayer, forcing a by-election at the tax payers expense. This could possibly leave the door open to litigation to recapture the loss due to the breach.
I believe that is what actually just happened in the City of Moose Jaw and the time spent reviewing the ethics bylaw would be to the taxpayers’ advantage trying to recoup the $60 to $80,000.00 dollars for the upcoming by - election on the 3rd of Nov.
I am concerned with this report and future stand-alone ethics bylaw!
I ask the hypothetical question “What Pandora’s box would be opened if this potential leave of absence should occur just prior to a predetermined municipal election?” You can see the advantage gained by advertising signage and press releases.
This would give any incumbent an advantage knowing if he failed at securing the more prestigious employment and remuneration he could still fall back on his secured job.
Therefore, if the city of Moose Jaw administration is truly interested in integrity and ethical behavior the actions that are playing out are front and centre and should not be wrapped by putting lipstick on a pig.
It is my sincerest hope that my concerns will be considered and addressed.
Sincerely Art King
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.