Outbursts spark bid to rectify behaviour

Waimate mayor John Coles
Waimate mayor John Coles

Waimate councillors have resolved to behave themselves in the wake of recent outbursts in the council chamber.

A code of conduct has been presented to them outlining the standards of behaviour of individual elected members in the exercise of their duties.

It follows a report by councillor Sharyn Cain to the council detailing an omission in the conduct policy.

Support services manager Carolyn Johns then said councillors should have formed a conduct review committee.

The code of conduct was adopted by 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.

Councillors have agreed Mayor John Coles will investigate any alleged breach of the code, or if he wishes, an investigating committee of up to three councillors may be established to investigate and report back on the alleged breach.

The issue was raised as the council continues to deal with outbursts in the chambers.

Mr Coles had asked if it was necessary to go to the next step of having a review committee.

Under the policy a member who is being investigated, the complainant and the council will be advised in writing of the outcome of the investigation of the alleged breach.

In an event the mayor breaches the code, the complaint will be referred to the chief executive.

Mr Coles said he did get frustrated with some of the behaviour in the chambers.

"It's about how we deal with someone who falls out of line.

"A lot of it is up to the chairman on how meetings are conducted. You get a bit frustrated when councillors talk among themselves; we need to be aware of how we are conducting ourselves."

The Timaru Herald