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The council is reviewing its code of conduct after a failed bid by chief executive Sarah Gardner to censure deputy chairman Michael Laws last year.
But it became clear yesterday there is disagreement about the scope of the review and the council will revisit the video recording of a February meeting to set the record straight.
The disagreement yesterday came as Mrs Gardner presented a "protocol" that formalised a rule that councillors should not speak to staff about council business unless the staff were one of five general managers, or her.
Doing otherwise would be a breach of the code of conduct, Mrs Gardner’s protocol said.
Because her protocol was tied to the code, the suggestion was made to include it in the review.
"As I understand it, it’s a very narrow look at the code."
"That’s not my understanding at all," Cr Laws countered.
"My understanding is that we are doing a review of the code of conduct with the purpose of making it fit for purpose."
The review of the code was a consequence of it being found deficient after Mrs Gardner’s "failed attempt to hinder an elected member’s freedom of speech", Cr Laws later said.
"The [chief executive] seems to keep fighting battles lost," he said.
Cr Kevin Malcolm said the resolution passed at the February meeting could be interpreted two ways.
"Using the video ref to gain clarity seems a very good option," he said.
The video would be reviewed by Mrs Gardner and chairman Andrew Noone and a report made to the next governance, communication and engagement committee.
Seven-term councillor Michael Deaker, who chaired yesterday’s committee meeting, sided with Cr Laws’ view in the meeting.
He said he had never seen councillors ask for a video review when revisiting a resolution.
"That was a new one for me," Cr Deaker said.
"The February council resolution was perfectly clear, in my view."
Cr Gary Kelliher said the recordings made of meetings allowed context associated with resolutions to be reviewed.
Cr Hilary Calvert said misunderstandings happened more often when councillors drafted resolutions because when staff proposed doing something they knew exactly what they meant, even if the language was not perfectly clear, and could carry out what they planned if councillors passed it.
Cr Alexa Forbes said she was frustrated by the number of resolutions at the council made on the fly.
She was further frustrated with code of conduct issues and the just launched "Panckhurst investigation" of staff actions serving as distractions at the council.
"I’m not accusing anyone of being cynical in all this, I just don’t want those distractions."
"I’m not sure that [Mrs Gardner] trying to reign in some of the more outspoken elements and partisan elements of our governance team with a ‘code’ as she was trying to get across the line today, I don’t think that’s going to work," Cr Forbes said.
"Because you have to operate in a high-trust environment, and we have not got that at the moment."
A council spokesman said it was not common for staff to review meeting recordings to understand the intent of council decisions.