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Questions and answers on hiring staff, acting as a reference, use of the office expense budget, City resources and improper influence.

 

Am I permitted to hire a relative of another Member of Council to work in my office?

No. The June 2000 Council policy on Members of Council hiring staff prevents Members of Council from hiring not only their own relatives (as defined) but also the relatives of other Members of Council.

May a Member of Council act as a reference for someone seeking a position with the City on the basis of work with that person on a community organization?

Yes, this is a “relevant relationship” in terms of the Council policy on members providing references for those seeking a position with the City.

May I use my expense budget to make a contribution towards the production of a newsletter by a community group?

Yes. It is a legitimate office expense. However, there is an annual limit of $500 per organization and it is inappropriate for your office to pay directly any bills associated with the newsletter.

A business has approached me with a request that I include an advertisement for the business in my next newsletter. They have offered to pay. I am not sure whether I want payment but am prepared in any event to do if for free as I believe this business is a great corporate citizen in my Ward. Please advise.

Do not agree irrespective of payment. To include the advertising free of charge would be using the resources of the City (your Expense Account which is paying for the newsletter) for other than the purposes of the Corporation: Article VI of the Code of Conduct. To accept payment, would involve an inappropriate receipt of a gift or benefit (Article IV) and worse if you still claim the whole cost of producing the newsletter from the City (Criminal Code). In any event, using your newsletter to promote a business, however worthy, is improper use of influence: Article VIII.

May a Member of Council use her or his City Hall Office, city-funded constituency office, or Council website to convey expressions of support for a candidate for an upcoming federal or provincial election?

No, this constitutes the use of the City’s property and facilities for other than the purposes of the Corporation: see Articles VI and VII of the Code of Conduct.