Niagara Region and NPCA board debate changes to their codes of conduct

Niagara Regional councillors will vote on a revised code of conduct next month.

But it won't be the same code proposed by their integrity commissioner.

At a committee meeting yesterday, councillors approved amendments to 58 different areas of John Mascarin's proposed code.

Among the changes, a new definition of when a councillor is acting in an official capacity representing the region.

Grimsby councillor Tony Quirk noting the change acknowledges politicians have a private life.

As well, anyone who files a complaint against a councillor will be identified, and councillors will no longer be able to complain about each other to the integrity commissioner.

Meantime,  the board of the  Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority expected to discuss proposed changes to its code of conduct this morning.

The changes drafted by regional councillor Dave Barrick who is also the NPCA's director of corporate services, reportedly includes a new pledge of loyalty to the organization.

A leaked copy of the revised code says board members who fail to “demonstrate unconflicted loyalty to the interests of the NPCA” will be sanctioned or removed from the board.

Board Chair Sandy Annunziata told Post Media earlier this week, the changes are in reponse to the censure of board member Bill Hodgson, who is accused of undermining the bidding process involving the hiring of an auditor to review NPCA operations.

In a statement to the Ontario legislature May 3rd, Welland MPP Cindy Forster came to Hodgson's defense, saying he did what was right, he questioned the bidding process.

Forster adding "It’s clear that the NPCA board chair, Sandy Annunziata, in an attempt to cover up his and some of his board members’ own actions, will stop at no end to silence anyone who seemed to disagree."