Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Higher council conduct standards, not lower standards, needed please

Why are City council rules of conduct and performance standards so
important to the taxpayers? Objective, visible standards can improve
accountability and results to and for the customers, the taxpayers and
the public. Standards protect Taxpayer interests.

The recent call to reduce objective standards of conduct at City hall
is disturbing. Using the Taxpayers as a tool or validation for this
proposed action is unacceptable to many

In the guise of saving the City taxpayers, $18, 000 plus in fees for
the independent commission findings, or similar oversight costs in the
future, the city councillors would like to change or reduce their
rules of conduct. The councillors', who oversee a $100 million plus
budget, are concerned that future independent oversight commissions
might overtax or overburden the budget. This reasoning comes from
those that appear to be promoting an increase in the public
funding/spending burn rate on their pet projects. The proposed
reduction in public standards by this council is transparently
foolish, self-serving and considered by many to be outright
hypocritical. .

Why have public standards? Every business, group, individuals has or
should have standards. ( Read the City Mission statements). A proven
fact is that the higher the standard, the higher the performance, and
the higher the results measured against an objective benchmark. Rules
of conduct improve performance.

Why then should we reduce our proven city standards, be in contempt of
the independent and paid for commission findings? Ask the Auditor
General or the Gormley Commission if an apology is enough to condone
bad behaviour or lapses in public interest judgement.

In sports, penalties are based on rules of engagement.. There are
consequences if they are not followed. You may be suspended from the
play or game if you cannot follow the basic rules. This is often to
the detriment of your team mates. There is a real incentive .to play
fair. Why should we settle for less from our councillors?

Here are some constructive suggestions to improve the integrity of
this important process. Do not change the conduct rules, follow the
rules fairly, and enforce the penalties as defined by the independent
commission-or have the offending councillors resign and let the voters
decide. We need higher not lower public standards that are executed in
a timely manner. If the outside legal oversight cost is deemed too
high, why not use the paid for city legal staff to handle future
breaches of ethical conduct?

Brantford deserves professionalism and good conduct from their
representatives-reducing the standard of conduct is not the answer.
and appears to be self-serving and counter productive

The Taxpayers also commend Councilor Martins attempt at following the
integrity commissioners ruling and keeping the process fair by
enforcing the given 90 day salary penalty, We, the ratepayers second
the motion ,even though the other councilors did not. Perhaps an Media
poll on this issue would clear the fog on this important issue.

Sieg Holle
Brant Taxpayers Coalition

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