Cambridge considers code of conduct for the public

By  | November 22, 2016 | 6 Comments | Filed under: Cambridge Council 2016


Waterloo Region Record

CAMBRIDGE — Council is looking to adopt a new code of conduct, but this time it’s for the public.

A decision was deferred last week to get input from Cambridge residents and craft a better policy.

“They feel as if they are being treated like children,” Coun. Jan Liggett said of the public at last Tuesday’s council meeting.

“I don’t have a problem with what’s written in this, but I really want the public to be confident in what we’re doing tonight.”

Some of the rules to be considered:

•Refraining from behaviour, which in the opinion of the chair of the meeting, is disruptive, such as clapping, booing and hissing, and other loud noises.

•No one may speak from the audience if not recognized by the chair as a speaker. When addressed by the chair, they must refrain from disrespectful and offensive language and gestures.

•Photo-taking and recording is not permitted without permission from the clerk.

•Appropriate attire is required. That includes no hats.

•Bags can be searched by security staff for dangerous materials and weapons.

•Objects of a symbolic nature, such as signs, are not allowed unless they are for a presentation.

Earlier this year, council adopted a code of conduct for city staff and council members.

Liggett said most of the rules already exist in the city’s procedural bylaw.

It says members of the public “will maintain order and quiet” and may not address council without permission, interrupt any speech or action or display picket signs in council chambers.

According to a staff report, the new policy, if adopted, will give council the power to kick out anyone who misbehaves.

City manager Gary Dyke said the new policy isn’t meant to “diminish transparency or accountability.”

“It creates a safe environment,” he said.

This isn’t a new concept. The cities of Guelph and London have similar rules for public behaviour.

In London, the policy says members of the public “shall conduct themselves with proper decorum at all times, in order to ensure a safe and respectful meeting environment.”

In Guelph, it says that “no person shall make detrimental comments, or speak ill of, or malign the integrity of staff, the public, mayor, members of council or committee.”

Mayor Doug Craig supported the deferral to a February council meeting.

“I have some concerns with some items in there,” he said. “There’s an item in there about removing hats from people … I think that’s kind of silly.”

Coun. Mike Devine was the only councillor who didn’t agree with the code at all.

“We don’t need to put this in writing, I think it’s a slap in the face,” he said, a comment that prompted a round of applause from the audience.

Ironically, clapping will be prohibited if the code comes into effect. , Twitter: @LatifRecord



6 Responses to Cambridge considers code of conduct for the public

  1. Debbie Duff Vitez November 22, 2016 at 10:55 am

    They hire and pay for a local Ombudsman..
    They keep Councillors from closed door meetings..
    Now they want to shut up the voting public..
    Open your eyes Cambridge.. time to step up and demand better..

    Maggie Smith November 22, 2016 at 10:56 am

    If you had been at that disgusting meeting – view the Video – Nov.15th – you will see the Mayor fiddling with papers before the Anthem was finished, he made a personal comment to a Mr. Riley – that should not have been discussed at a public council meeting and in referring to hats in the meeting – he named a person that was there attending the meeting.
    Talk about breaking the Code of Conduct – to me here are three infractions – but it seems if the Mayor does it – that is o.k., but good grief – the public have to be put in child locks to attend meetings. Ridiculous. We have a very dysfunctional Council – they are to be working for our betterment – not for their own glory. Something very wrong here.
    Everyone should view that Council meeting Tues. Nov. 15 – will open your eyes.

    Kayla November 22, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    This is a very sly way of controlling the citizens from voicing their concerns at council . Clapping ? Hats ? No photos or recording ? Bags will be searched ? Cambridge citizens should be able voice their concerns at council and not worried about being removed from council because of code of conduct . Stop trying to control the citizens and do the job that they were elected for . This is extremely upsetting that council is trying to Implement this ! New council and staff for 2018 ! I hope The citizens of Cambridge don’t forget all the wrong doing that certain city councillors have done up until the when next election happens . When is the next meeting ? We all should go down and clap for all delegations against this policy !

    Dex November 22, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    Look at both those 2 cities mentioned. Past legal problems for their mayors. Join the dots.

    Maggie Smith November 22, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    I wish you would – read the paper – meetings in there (sometimes). Not earlier as they didn’t want anyone to know what was going on.
    Tune into the Council Meeting of Nov. 15th on Video if you want to see a disguting dysfunctional Council.
    They work for us – but actually it looks like they are afraid of Craig & do as they are told.
    He has his shirt in a knot because Sandra Hill knew more than he did – probably doesn’t take much though.
    So go to all the meetings – watch the Control show!!

    Gary Worton November 23, 2016 at 8:51 am

    Seems like a touch of the old schoolteacher emerging from Sir Dougie!

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