CVN letter to Council (Jan 20): Code of Conduct for Council Members and Advisory Board Members

This letter to Council relates to a topic for City Council on January 20, 2021.

January 20, 2020

City of Vancouver Council

Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: The Code of Conduct for Council Members and Advisory Board Members (BY-LAW No. _____)


The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is OPPOSED to this proposed new bylaw for the Code of Conduct. The existing Code of Conduct policy covers Council, advisory bodies, and staff, while the proposed bylaw would not include staff.

We strongly oppose this change to eliminate staff and the lack of proper process.

As proposed, City staff would not be held to an improved level of accountability or integrity. The proposed role of Integrity Commissioner would not deal with complaints about staff. Staff would continue to solely deal with complaints internally through the human resources department, or possibly just through senior staff such as the City Manager.

Code of Conduct for senior staff such as the City Manager, should go to the Integrity Commissioner too. Complaints about other staff, such as General Managers and Planners, should also have the potential to be appealed to the Integrity Commissioner. As currently drafted, it imposes a lower level of accountability on staff, while increasing controls on City Council and its advisory bodies.

The drafting of the bylaw, including the role and appointment of an Integrity Commissioner, should be transparent and include City Council and the public. There needs to be a “redline” draft text of the document, to show exactly what changes are being proposed relative to the current text of the Code of Conduct Policy. Please send this report back to add staff to the bylaw with a consultation process.

Thank you,

Larry A. Benge, Co-chair
Dorothy Barkley, Co-chair

Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods