The Board commits itself and its members to conduct of the highest ethical standards. This high standard includes the proper use of authority and appropriate decorum exhibited as individuals and within group behaviour. It is expected that all personal interactions and relationships will be characterized by mutual respect, which acknowledges the dignity and affirms the worth of each person. The Trustee Code of Conduct requires that trustees respect the confidentiality appropriate to issues of a sensitive nature.
Guidelines for Trustee Conduct:
1. Trustees shall carry out their responsibilities as detailed in Board Policy 3: Role of the Trustee and shall devote time, thought and study to the duties and responsibilities of trusteeship, with reasonable diligence, so that they may render effective and creditable service.
2. Trustees shall conduct themselves in a manner that enhances public confidence and trust, and positively affects the public’s perception of their ability to do their job in an impartial manner.
3. Trustees shall commit themselves to dignified, ethical, lawful and professional conduct.
4. While trustees have the same rights afforded to individuals, trustees are required at all times to maintain the integrity of public office and conduct themselves in a manner that enhances public confidence and trust, and positively affects the public’s perception of their ability to do their job in an impartial and professional manner. Specifically:
4.1. Relationships with the division staff, the local citizenry, and the media shall be conducted on the basis of this fact.
4.2. Trustees have no legal authority outside the meetings of the Board, unless the Board has so delegated.
4.3. Trustees recognize that the Board Chair is the official spokesperson of the Board.
4.4. Trustees shall not attempt to exercise individual authority over the Superintendent of Schools or any member of the staff.
5. Trustees shall support the Board’s policies and resolutions when communicating with the public.
6. While elected from specific wards, trustees shall represent the best interest of the entire Division.
With respect to trustee decisions:
7. Trustees shall do everything possible to maintain the integrity, confidence, and dignity of the office of trustee.
8. Trustees shall base decisions upon all available facts in each situation.
9. Trustees shall vote with honest conviction in every case.
10. Trustees shall refrain from becoming swayed by partisan bias of any kind.
With respect to Board collegiality:
11. Trustees shall endeavour to work with fellow Board members cooperatively, with respect, and in a spirit of harmony and cooperation, in spite of any differences of opinion which may arise during debate:
11.1. Trustees shall encourage full and open discussions in all matters with fellow trustees;
11.2. Trustees shall not withhold or conceal any information or matter with which other Trustees should be concerned;
11.3. Trustees shall honour the roles established by the Board for the purpose of Board Chair, Board Vice-Chair and/or Board committee representation, and
11.4. Trustees shall abide by and uphold the final majority decision of the Board.
With respect to schools and school operations:
12. Trustees shall not use the schools or any part of the school program for their own personal advantage or for the advantage of family and friends.
13. Trustees shall demonstrate an understanding of the needs and aspirations of the Division and shall support the Board’s current Education Plan.
14. Trustees shall govern through Board policy and shall respect the role of the Superintendent with regard to Division management and operations.
With respect to confidentiality, pecuniary interest and/or fiduciary responsibilities:
15. Trustees shall keep confidential any personal, privileged or confidential information obtained in the capacity of a trustee, and shall not disclose the information except when authorized by law, or by the Board.
16. Trustees shall honour their fiduciary responsibility to the Board and demonstrate that the expenditure of school funds is a public trust; notably
16.1. Trustees shall endeavour to see that all such funds shall be expended efficiently, economically, and for the best interest of the students.
17. Trustees’ fiduciary responsibility to the Board supersedes any conflicting loyalty, such as that to advocacy or interest groups and memberships on other Boards or staffs, or acting as an individual consumer of the Division’s services:
17.1. Trustees, having a pecuniary interest in a matter before the Board, and as defined in section 85(1)(b) of the Education Act, shall follow the requirements of the Education Act and Board Policy 7: Board Operations;
17.2. Trustees shall declare any pecuniary interests and act in accordance with provincial and federal legislation; and
17.3. Trustees shall avoid any conflict-of-interest with respect to their fiduciary responsibility.
17.4. Trustees shall not use their influence, or allow themselves to submit to any external pressure, to advance any personal, family or friends’ interests or the interests of any organization with which the trustee is associated.
18. Trustees shall be accountable to represent loyalty without conflict to the interests of the Division:
18.1. This accountability shall supersede any conflicting loyalty such as that to advocacy or interest groups and memberships on other boards or staffs; and
18.2. This accountability also supersedes the personal interest of any trustee acting as a consumer of the organization’s services.
With respect to a breach of the Code of Conduct:
19. Consequences for the failure of a Trustee to adhere to Board Policy 4: Trustee Code of Conduct(herein) are specified in Policy 4: Appendix 4.1.