Council Code of Conduct
The Council Code of Conduct Bylaw (Revised Bylaw No. 1124) governs the conduct of Councillors, the Mayor, and individuals appointed by Council to serve on Committees.
Establishing a Code of Conduct is provincially required through the Municipal Government Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. M-16 Section 146.1, and the Elected Officials Code of Conduct Regulation 200/2017. In winter of 2022, a working committee of elected officials convened to revise the terms of the Bylaw, in accordance with the standards they expected of individuals appointed to public office in the Town of Hinton.
On December 20, 2022, Council gave three readings to the Revised Bylaw, meant to be updated any time there is a change in pertinent legislation, or at least every four years to align with new terms of elected appointment.
Informal Complaint Process
In accordance with Section 17 Informal Complaint Process of the Revised Bylaw, paraphrased for clarity:
Any person that reasonably believes, in good faith, the conduct of a Councillor, the Mayor, and/or a member of the public appointed by Council to a Committee opposes the conduct expected of such individuals in Bylaw 1124 may address the concern either by:
- Advising the Councillor, Mayor, or Committee Member that the conduct violates the Bylaw, thus encouraging the person to cease; and/or
- Requesting the Mayor, or Deputy Mayor if the Mayor is the subject of concern, to assist by facilitating a conversation of the complaint with the accused to resolve the issue.
The Town of Hinton encourages individuals to undertake the informal complaint process, which values mediation and interpersonal conflict. Individuals are not required to pursue the informal process prior to raising a formal complaint.
A list of the Deputy Mayors, the rotation of Councillors that preside as Chair of Meetings of Council, can be found here. Contact information for each Councillor can be found on their pages, listed below:
If reaching out about an informal complaint regarding the conduct of those governed by Revised Bylaw No. 1124, please be sure to include:
- Your name, email address, and phone number
- The date, time, and location of the alleged contravention
- A description of the contravention, and how it contravenes Revised Bylaw No. 1124
- Any witnesses
Formal Complaint Process
An individual may pursue the Formal Complaint Process by filling in the Formal Complaint Form (linked here) in accordance with Section 18 Formal Complaint Process.
- Anonymous complaints will not be accepted
- All complaints must be sealed and addressed to the third-party “Investigator” of Council Code of Conduct Complaints, then delivered by mail or in-person at the Town Office at 2nd Floor, 131 Civic Centre Road, Hinton, AB T7V 2E5.
- The complaint must include a detailed description of facts, as well as how those facts are in contravention with the provisions of the Revised Bylaw
- The Investigator may use the contact information provided to solicit further information concerning the complaint
- If the Investigator decides to pursue the complaint, the complainant will be notified
Please note, in accordance with Revised Bylaw No. 1124,
(18.1.5) The Investigator is within their rights throughout the Formal Complaint Process to decide a complaint is frivolous and/or vexatious. If the complaint is not pursued, the complainant will be notified.
(18.1.8) A Councillor, the Mayor, or a Member of a Committee who is subject of an investigation will have an opportunity to respond to any allegations, and may (18.1.9), at their expense, seek legal counsel.
(19.3.1) Councillors, the Mayor, and Members of Committees may threaten nor undertake reprisal against any complainant for providing information in accordance with the informal nor formal complaint procedures.
Ultimately, it will be the Committee established by Council, minus the party(ies) accused as in contravention of the Revised Bylaw 1124, that will decide the disciplinary measures to be undertaken. Recommendations from the Investigator following a formal complaint procedure will be considered by the Committee. Repercussions may include:
- A letter of reprimand;
- A letter requesting the accused issue an apology;
- Publication of either of the former;
- Suspension and/or removal of Deputy Mayoral duties for Councillors;
- A requirement to attend training;
- Suspension and/or removal from some or all Council Committees and bodies to which Council has a right to appoint Councillors, the Mayor, and/or Members of the public that serve Committees;
- A subsequent reduction in remuneration due to less potential billable hours
- Any other sanction the Committee of Council deems appropriate, as long as its not in contravention with the legislated duties of a Councillor or the Mayor.