Smiths Falls has officially appointed an integrity commissioner to ensure members of council are meeting the terms of their code of conduct.
At a March 19 meeting, councillors voted in favour of a recommendation from Director of Corporate Services and Clerk Kerry Costello to appoint Tony Fleming of Cunningham, Swan, Carty, Little & Bonham LLP as integrity commissioner for the town.
“We’re actually sharing our integrity commissioner with Lanark County, and it’s kind of pay-as-you go,” explained Councillor John Maloney.
The appointment of an integrity commissioner is required under the terms of provincial Bill 68, entitled, the “Modernizing Ontario’s Municipal Legislation Act.” The bill requires each municipality to retain an integrity commissioner on or before March 1, 2019.
An integrity commissioner is an independent and impartial official reporting directly to council. The commissioner’s role is to:
- Investigate complaints and alleged breaches of council’s code of conduct;
- Review the code of conduct annually’
- Serve as an advisor to individual members of council regarding the code of conduct and any other procedures or policies regarding ethics;
- Provide reports to council on his activities;
- Provide individual investigative reports regarding complaints.
The firm selected to act in this role for Smiths Falls, Lanark County and other local municipalities is based in Kingston. Lanark County has budgeted $5,000 for integrity commissioner services in 2018, mainly to assist in the review and development of codes of conduct for the county and local municipalities.