Council shoots down conduct code


Highway repaving Ontario is creating 70 jobs by improv- ing Highway 401 in Stormont County, according to the Ontario Liberal gov- ernment. More than 19 kilometres of Highway 401 between Upper Canada Road and Moulinette Road will be repaved, mak- ing travel easier and safer for families and businesses. Construction is targeted for completion by the end of this year. Dam gates lowering The gates raised for the passage of rec- reational boat traffic through the Iro- quois Control Dam will be lowered from Sunday to Oct. 26, 2012, according to the Ontario Power Generation’s Ottawa/ St. Lawrence Plant Group. Recreatioal boaters and anglers must use the Iroquois Lock for passage during this period, according to a media notice from OPG. The gates will be lowered to install new marine navigation beacons, warning signs, and safety lighting for small boats through the gates. Breakfast Connections The Cornwall Business Enterprise Cen- tre, the Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce and the SD&G Community Futures Development Corporation in- vite area business people to Breakfast Connections the third Wednesday each month between September and June at 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. at the Ramada Inn in Cornwall, Ontario. Topics for the upcoming season include marketing, public speaking, business communications, social media, partner- ing, joint ventures, local agency services, economic development and compliance issues. Breakfast Connections kicked off the new season this morning with a How To Network event. Healthy transportation Chantal Lalonde, a health educator and promoter with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, will share information on walkability and cyclability as well as provide an overview of what’s happen- ing in our community to move the is- sue forward on from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sept. 30, at the Cornwall Public Library. Research has linked active transporta- tion and improved public health. Studies also show that when the infrastructure is in place – sidewalks, cycle lanes and street connectivity – people will use ac- tive transport for their daily travel. A question and discussion period will fol- low. All are welcome. Admission is free and refreshments available.


A proposed code of conduct has been re- jected by Cornwall city council. A majority of council members defeated the proposal in a recorded vote at last Mon- day night’s meeting of council. Veteran councillors Denis Thibault and Syd Gardiner were key proponents of the new policy which was also back by Mayor Bob Kilger. Also voting in favour were coun- cillors Bernadette Clement and Elaine Mac- Donald. But other councillors balked at the cost of creating another layer of bureaucracy to police the actions of individual councillors. Councillor David Murphy said council members are already governed by the On- tario Municipal Act and the city’s own pro- cedural bylaw. “This becomes a redundancy,” he said. “Howmany sets of rules do we have to have in place to tell us to play nice and act like grown-ups and run the municipality the way it should be run?” The code – prepared by retiring city clerk Denise Labelle-Gelinas -- would have made the mayor the official spokesman for city council, would have prohibited criticism of city staff, and further warned against the release of information discussed during in- camera sessions. Councillor Andre Rivette said the pro- posed code is an affront to individual coun- cillors’ right to free speech. “You have no freedom of speech to go out and say ‘I don’t think this is right.” He said it is the role of individual council- lors to advise public on city issues because they are the ones who voted the council members into power. “If you don’t … agree with the way it’s being done, it’s your job to go to the voters and say that.” Thibault, however, said the voters deserve a document which explains to them the conduct required of city council members. “We have a code of conduct for our po-

Photo Greg Kielec

City councillor David Murphy criticized a proposed code of conduct for council mem- bers as a “redundancy” at a council meeting last Monday.

lice force, we have a code of conduct for our employees, the federal government has a code of conduct, provincial employees have a code of conduct,” he said. “Our electorate expects us to respect a certain level of conduct in the offices that we hold. And I think we need to have a document of some type that says: ‘This is what you should expect from your elected officials.’” Council members keep talking about transparency, and how to act in a fair and impartial and professional manner, but what should be used to hold them to ac- count? he questioned. Voters owed a code “It should be on a code of conduct that says, ‘This is what you should expect from your elected officials.’” Councillor Glen Grant worried the pro- posed code inferred there is a problemwith councillors’ conduct where there in fact is no problem. “When I look at this we’re saying there’s a problem, in my estimation. It’s a little bit proactive, but it’s also reactive in some re- spects. And I don’t believe we have a prob- lem.” He also worried the policy would cre- meaning the city will not be able to solicit extra funding even if there is an increased demand for social services. “The cap means . . . there will be a maxi- mum each year and we don’t have the abil- ity to say to the province, ‘we need some more, we’d like some more’.” Two groups, AMO, and Ontario Municipal Social Services Association, are collecting information frommunicipalities to evaluate how they will be affected by the funding cuts. Bureaucrats will also look at policies and procedures to “shrink” funding, Daigle said. A regional meeting will be held Sept. 21

ate another level of bureaucracy, another policy and another commissioner to which the municipality must report, while stress- ing council members are already governed by the Ontario Municipal Act and the city’s own procedural bylaw. Clement said any kind of document pro- scribing appropriate behavior for council members “is a good thing.” “It encourages transparency and it en- courages trust and co-operation as well. This kind of exercise will force us to look at ourselves and it’s time that we do,” she said. But Councillor Maurice Dupelle suggest- ed city hall was barking up the wrong tree with the proposed conduct code. “Communications around our council table is sometimes an issue and it is some- thing we need to work on as elected offi- cials of the city of Cornwall,” Dupelle said. “That’s where we need to start looking.” Kilger, in a last ditch plea, stressed propo- nents weren’t intimating there is a problem with the conduct of council m embers, nor were they trying to “quick fix” anything. “We are all held to a very high standard, but we need that standard clearly defined. I see this as an enhancement to the work that we do.” for area municipalities to compare notes, Daigle said. “So we will be looking at what our neighbours in the eastern region will be doing as well.” According to a report prepared for city council, the “quality of life for some vulnera- ble citizens”may be affected as the city and other agencies struggle to coping with the loss of funding. “Provincial funding changes will have sig- nificant impacts on client service, however within the allowable maximums, there will be a slight decrease in the municipal contri- bution to discretionary benefits in 2013 due to the cost-sharing formula.”

City to lose $2 million in social services funding

By Greg Kielec

A loss of $2 million in provincial social ser- vices funding will force the city to make “some very, very difficult decisions,” says Mayor Bob Kilger. “This is an action that was taken in the most recent provincial budget but is really coming to the surface of late in the impact it is having on communities,” Kilger told city council last Monday night. Debora Daigle, city manager of social and housing services, said social services funding has been capped by the province,

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