Ron Voss, of the Dog With A Bone Society, wants to see the town's code of conduct bylaw amended to give the public the right to lodge complaints against town councillors.

He also questioned why Mayor Jeff Genung ignored that same procedural bylaw by participating in council debates without removing himself from the chair. He used that as an example of why residents should have the right to file a complaint.

Voss, surrounded by several supporters at council's committee-of-the-whole meeting on Mar. 20, explained that the code of conduct bylaw only allows councillors to object to conduct by other council members, something Voss believes is wrong.

In early January, Voss contacted Mayor Genung by email and stated the mayor was violating section 4.2 (c) of the procedural bylaw by participating in debates.

That subsection reads: "When the Presiding Officer wishes to participate in the debate on a question or motion properly before the Meeting, the Presiding Officer shall vacate the Chair and request the Deputy Mayor to assume the Chair."

Voss says the mayor responded by saying the bylaw entitled him to participate in debates but not to make motions.

"Now, I thought I had a pretty good grasp of the English language, but not according to Mayor Genung, with respect to the procedural bylaw, clearly stating when the preceding officer wishes to participate in the debate on a question or motion, astonishingly the mayor was now telling me, 'No, Ron, you're not reading that correctly,' despite the clear reference to participate in debate and no reference to presenting motions."

Voss took a page out of the book of Mayor Genung and town CAO Mike Derricott when they explained why comments were turned off on the town's Facebook page by using the term "misinformation.".

"I call out the mayor's imaginative revisionist rewrite of section 4.2 (c) of the procedural bylaw for what it is, misinformation." 

Councillor Morgan Nagel said since he's been on council, the mayor has been allowed to participate in debates without removing himself from the chair. He threatened to stop speaking when Voss interrupted him, then proceeded uninterrupted.

"I think it's important that we amend the procedural bylaw to reflect the reality of what actually goes on here because I agree with you that we should be following our bylaws," said Nagel. "I do feel a little silly that we haven't been following that for the past 10 years I've been on council, but we should right the policy."

Councillor Marni Fedeyko asked town administration to research whether any other municipalities allow the public to file complaints through their procedural policy. Councillor Patrick Wilson said if research proves council isn't in compliance with its own bylaw, measures should be taken to right the ship.

CAO Mike Derrricott explained a review of the bylaws is in progress and will include information on questions raised by councillors last night.