A Special Meeting of the Council will be held in the Council Chamber, Braeside Avenue, Ringwood, on Monday 18 April 2016, commencing at 7.15pm and your presence is requested.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
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Braeside Avenue, Ringwood, 3134
PO Box 156, Ringwood 3134
DX 38068, Ringwood
1300 88 22 33
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(03) 9298 4345
Croydon: Civic Square
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1. Acknowledgment of Country
3. Declaration of Interest
4. Officers’ Reports
Director Corporate Services
1. Councillor Code of Conduct
5. Declaration – Individual Councillors
DIRECTOR Corporate Services – Marianne Di Giallonardo
Councillor Code Of Conduct
Council to review and adopt a revised Councillor Code of Conduct.
Strategic / policy issues
The following directions contained in Maroondah 2040: Our Future Together and the Council plan 2013-2017 (Year 3: 2015-2016) provide the strategic framework that underpins the purpose in this report.
Outcome Area: A well governed and empowered community
Our Vision: Maroondah is an effectively empowered community that is actively engaged in Council decision making through processes that ensure their voice is heard and considered. Council provides strong and responsive leadership, ensures transparent processes and works with the community to advocate and champion their needs.
Key Directions 2015 – 2016:
8.1 Provide enhanced governance that is transparent, accessible, inclusive and accountable
The Local Government Act 1989 (the Act) requires all Councils to develop and maintain a Councillor Code of Conduct (the Code) and Maroondah has done so since 2004.
Recent amendments to the Act have required all Council to review its Code twice within the next 10 months. The first review is to occur prior to 4 July 2016 – adopting statutory changes that have occurred. The second review is to occur after the general election in October 2016 and prior to the end of February 2017.
A major change to the Code is that it is now mandatory for each Councillor to make a declaration that they have read and will abide by the Code. Failure to make such a declaration – to be signed and witnessed by the CEO – will lead to disqualification of the Councillor. A Special Meeting of the Council must be called solely for the purpose of reviewing the Code and approve any amendments to be made following the review.
The attached proposed Code of Conduct has been drafted to incorporate the legislative changes and also be a “one stop shop” regarding provisions of the Act pertaining to Councillors. For instance the role of Councillors, the function of the Mayor, and Council Conduct Panels etc.
It is now mandatory for the Code to include an internal resolution procedure for dealing with any alleged contraventions of the Code. A Council can also apply sanctions to a Councillor who has been found to have contravened the Councillor Code of Conduct. Maroondah had already incorporated both aspects into its Code.
Failure by a Councillor to comply with the Council’s internal resolution procedure or to comply with a written direction given by the Council under section 81AB of the Act (sanctions for contravention of the Code) constitutes misconduct by a Councillor - such being a trigger for a Councillor Conduct Panel. – an independent body that will assess a breach of the Code. If a Councillor Conduct Panel makes a finding of misconduct against a Councillor, the Panel may apply further sanctions against that Councillor.
Issue / discussion
The proposed Code of Conduct is an all-inclusive document dealing with the obligations of Councillors including:
· Legislative requirements for the Code, such as
- Dispute resolution processes; and
- Ability of Council to pass a sanction motion against a Councillor for breaches of the Code.
· Working relationships
- Between fellow Councillors;
- With staff members; and
- With members of the community.
· Governance practices.
- Gifts and hospitality – extensively enhanced;
- Bodies able to investigate Councillor behaviour; and
- Devise of property, donation or bequest.
Specifically changes identified within the Code - since it was last adopted in October 2013 and was subsequently re-confirmed in December 2014 following the election of Cr Lowe at a countback election – are:-
1. Page 1 – update of Council Vision;
2. Page 2 & 3 – inclusion of definitions of Functions of Mayor and also Role of Councillors;
3. Page 5 – inclusion of penalty for breach of confidentiality, section 77(1) of the Act;
4. Page 6 & 7 – inclusion of new provisions pertaining to a Councillor trying to provide direct an officer when acting under delegation or as an authorised officer;
5. Page 7 – enhanced definition of the term bullying and also highlighting that new provisions incorporate bullying as part of the definition of “serious misconduct”;
6. Pages 10 & 11 – internal dispute resolution re behaviour of a Councillor. Processes finetuned in line with amendments to the Act;
a. Nb also includes processes re sanction motions that have likewise been finetuned in line with amendments to the Act;
7. Pages 11, 12 & 13 – inclusion of new processes re Councillor Conduct Panel processes and new definitions for the 3 types of misconduct; and
8. Page 15 – inclusion of a clause noting the mandatory endorsement of the Code by Council and the individual declaration by Councillors.
Financial / economic issues
Environmental / amenity issues
Social / community issues
The Maroondah community deserves and expects the highest levels of leadership and associated behaviours of their elected members. In June 2014, Council adopted the „Maroondah 2040‟ Community Vision as a basis for departmental strategy and targets over the coming years. A well governed community was a prominent aspect of the survey findings for many residents and the Code is one of the many processes that link together in achieving this outcome.
Council has long held values to ensure it serves its community with the highest levels of leadership with associated values and behaviours. The Code of Conduct articulates this aspiration and signing the Code in addition to each individual Councillor making a declaration that they have read the Code and will abide by its provisions is an active acknowledgement of this commitment.
Code of Conduct
THAT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 76C OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1989 (THE ACT), MAROONDAH CITY COUNCIL:-
1. NOTES IT HAS REVIEWED THE COUNCILLOR CODE OF CONDUCT
2. ENDORSES THE CHANGES TO THE CODE OF CONDUCT THAT WERE MANDATED PRIMARILY BY RECENT LEGISLATIVE AMENDMENTS TO THE ACT
3. ADOPTS THE CODE AS ATTACHED TO THE REPORT OF THE DIRECTOR CORPORATE SERVICES AND PRESENTED TO THE SPECIAL MEETING OF COUNCIL HELD ON 18 APRIL 2016
4. NOTES THAT COUNCILLORS ARE TO INDICATE THEIR COMMITMENT TO THE CODE BY SIGNING A COPY OF THE CODE OF CONDUCT DATED APRIL 2016
5. FURTHER NOTES COUNCILLORS ARE TO MAKE AN INDIVIDUAL DECLARATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT – SECTIONS 76C AND 63 - THAT THEY HAVE READ THE CODE AND WILL ABIDE BY IT; AND SUCH DECLARATION TO BE IN WRITING, BE MADE BEFORE AND WITNESSED BY THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER.