If you’re lucky, then you will only ever hear from the integrity commissioner once a year when he or she delivers their annual report. But if your city council is dysfunctional, and unable to work together cordially or in good faith, then the integrity commissioner is your best friend.
This week on the podcast, we talk to the City of Guelph’s Integrity Commissioner, Robert Swayze. He’s acted in that capacity for the last relatively boring 11 years. In fact, this year’s report had only three items: a complaint about staff that Swayze can’t investigate, a complaint about a councillor’s fence that Swayze also has no jurisdiction over, and a complaint about a council debate that Swayze ruled was “spirited” but not an incident of bullying as reported.
But the course of an integrity commissioner’s life sometimes doesn’t run as smooth.
It starts with the Code of Conduct, which you can read about here. It lays out the expectations for councillors and members of local boards to make sure they “charge their duties in a manner that recognizes a fundamental commitment to the wellbeing of the community and regard for the integrity of the Corporation.” When that doesn’t happen, it’s time to call the integrity commissioner.
So there’s a lot of ground to cover. Swayze will talk about the limits of his jurisdiction, and what he can and cannot investigate. He also talks about his process, what he does when he receives a complaint, and what informs his judgment. Also, is a busy integrity commissioner a sign of a council in peril, and are the people and the media getting enough information about what goes on behind closed doors at council? Finally, Swayze will give you some insight into what it looks like when other city councils aren’t as dull as Guelph’s.
So let’s talk about how we keep City Council up to code on this week’s edition of the Guelph Politicast!
If you should happen to have a complaint about City Council and a potential violation of the Code of Conduct, you can get all the details about how to file the complaint at the City’s website here.
The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here.
Remember that the Politicast Podbean channel is also the host for podcast versions of Open Sources Guelph. The previous Thursday’s episode of Open Sources will be posted on Mondays.