Waimate council discusses members' behaviour

AL WILLIAMS
Last updated 16:01 18/09/2012

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Waimate councillors have been given the word on their behaviour in the chambers.

A code of conduct was presented to them as an urgent agenda item at this morning's meeting.

Support services manager Carolyn Johns had identified an omission in the conduct policy. She said councillors should have formed a conduct review committee.

The code of conduct was adopted by the Waimate District Council in 2003 but there has never been a committee to oversee the standards of elected members in the exercise of their duties.

The policy outlines the standards of behaviour of members and is designed to help them establish and maintain working relationships based on trust and respect.

''I'd say the council has had some issues of late about the code of conduct,'' Mayor John Coles said.

His comments follow recent outbursts by members in the chambers. The latest, late last month, resulted in Councillor Sharyn Cain walking out of an extraordinary meeting.

Mr Coles asked if it was necessary to go to the next step of having a review committee. Cr Peter Foley interjected, saying councillors couldn't even uphold standing orders.

''Let's face it, the things I get away with are no worse than the tenure of the meeting. If you can't operate under standing orders then what are we doing here?''

Cr Sharyn Cain said there had been issues with breaches of standing orders and nominated Cr Foley and Cr Matt Henderson to be part of the review committee.

Crs Peter McIlraith and Jim Anderson opposed the motion.

''I don't like the situation where councillors are in charge of other councillors,'' Cr McIlraith said.

Cr Cain said she was concerned there were breaches of conduct inside and outside of the chambers.

''I feel like there is a disjointedness between councillors. As it stands there is no resolution committee so where does that leave me?''

An amendment was made to replace the reference of a review committee to the mayor and the motion was carried.

Cr McIlraith then asked what had prompted the matter to arise.

''If this is about people leaving meetings then I think we should have that discussion," he said. "If we don't know what the issue is and I don't know what it is then I'm working backwards.''

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- The Timaru Herald

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