Latest News

Governing bylaws slated for set reviews

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

The series of laws that govern the way city councillors act inside and outside the council chambers are set to be scheduled for regular review.

A motion added to council’s last regular meeting agenda on that went on to carry unanimously, dictates that council’s procedural bylaw, remuneration bylaw, and code of conduct will all reviewed in the last two years of a term of council.

The motion points to new staffers as a motivating factor.

“Senior staff new to the city present an opportunity to consider best and evolving practices from other municipalities and sectors, enriching the city’s perspective,” the motion reads.

Following the retirement of long-time city clerk Sandra Kranc, the city hired Andrew Brouwer as her replacement late in 2016.

“I think that reviewing our bylaw and codifying it so that it’s once a term occurrence…and that we have the opportunity to look at things is a great step forward,” says Councillor Amy McQuaid-England. “I look forward to the reports coming forward in the near future that might help us address some of the issues.”

In terms of council’s remuneration bylaw, which dictates council salaries, it was established in 2005 and created largely in part by a council compensation review completed by Aon Consulting during that year. Since then, it has only seen minor alterations, including in 2011 when Mayor John Henry removed expenses from his mayor’s remuneration upon taking office.

More recently, council’s code of conduct was passed in 2015 and put in place rules for the way councillors behave in and out of the council chambers. It also puts in place penalties including reprimands and the suspension of a councillor’s remuneration for up to 90 days. The code also lays out specifics for how councillors deal with gifts they receive when attending events as part of their council obligations and defines the handling of confidential information.

Related to Oshawa’s Procedural Bylaw, it was under intense scrutiny in 2014 when council appointed a Public Participation Committee to review ways in which to improve the public’s experience when participating in Oshawa’s municipal politics.  A final report from the committee detailed several changes to council bylaws in 2015.

No timeline was provided at the meeting for reviews of these bylaws over the next year, however, according to the latest update to the Corporate Services’s department business plan, an update to the procedural bylaw is expected in the fourth quarter of this year.