Archive for June 2014

Council Orientation

communiction two

Faulty communication and misunderstanding is behind many problems that negatively affect personal and corporate affairs. One has just to look at the present controversy in Toronto. In May 2010 after serving on council for a decade, the mayor is quoted as saying “… he never read the Conflict of Interest Act or the councillor orientation handbook. Nor, did he attend councillor training sessions that covered conflicts of interest.” City administration seems to have done its job in providing the information and training but the materials were never read; conflict of interest legislation was not understood. Those who offer for public office have a responsibility to know their obligations. Likewise senior management has a responsibility to clearly communicate operating rules and regulations. My advice – in preparation for a new council’s orientation prepare a formal Code of Conduct. If one has already been approved, use it. Have the Code of Conduct read publicly at the swearing in ceremony. Then have it framed and hung in a conspicuous location for for all to see. Hold a formal orientation session soon after the Oath of Office ceremony. Emphasize the importance for all members of council to be present. At the orientation provide an opportunity for each department head to explain the department’s responsibility, how it works and problems/issues that are faced. Encourage questions and comments. Compile a comprehensive package of briefing materials and place the information on a password protected area of the municipality’s website. Review and discuss all briefing materials with council members. Check for understanding!