BENOIT FIRST NATION INC

CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY

FOR

CHIEF, COUNCIL AND COMMITTEES

SEPTEMBER 2018

 

Benoit First Nation Mi’kmaw Band

Acceptance of Policy

 

We, the representatives of the Benoit First Nation Inc, have reviewed and hereby approve this Policy dated September 2018 for the Benoit First Nation Inc.

 

 _______________________                                 Date  ______________

Councilor

 

______________________                                     Date  _____________

Councilor

 

'_______________________                                   Date ______________

Councilor

 

General Provisions

Where a member of Council has an interest in any matter and is present at a meeting of the Council at which the matter is the subject of consideration, the member shall:

a) Prior to any consideration of the matter at the meeting, disclose the general nature of the interest;

b) Not take part in the discussion or vote on any question in respect of the matter; and

c) Not attempt in any way to influence the voting on any question on the matter

 

Interest

For purposes of this policy, a member of Council has an interest in a matter if

a) He or she has a personal interest in the matter;

b) He or she has a family member who has a personal interest in the matter;

c) He or she has a business relationship, as a partner, as an employee, as a major shareholder, as a director or as a senior officer, with another entity that has an interest in the matter;

d) He or she has a family member who has a business relationship, as a partner, as an employee, as a major shareholder, as a director or as a senior officer, with another entity that has an interest in the matter

 

Disclosure

Where a meeting of Council is open to community members, any declaration of interest by a member of Council shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting by the person appointed by the Council to record the minutes of Council meetings.

Where a meeting is not open to community members, any declaration of interest by a member of Council shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting and also recorded in the minutes of the next meeting that is open to community members by the person appointed by the Council to record the minutes.

 Abstentions

Where a member of Council has declared an interest in a matter to be considered by Council, he or she shall leave the meeting while the matter in which he or she has an interest is being considered.

Loss of Quorum

Where the number of members of Council, who by reason of the provisions of this policy are required to abstain from participating in a matter before the Council is such that the remaining members of Council are not of sufficient number to constitute a quorum of Council, the remaining members of Council shall be deemed to constitute a quorum of Council if there are not fewer than two.

Where the number of members of Council, who by reason of the provisions of this policy, are required to abstain from participating in a matter before the Council is such that the remaining members of Council are not of sufficient number to constitute a quorum of Council, a member of Council who has interest in the matter may apply to the Conflict of Interest Committee to consider recommending the member of Council be allowed to vote on the matter subject to such conditions and directions as the committee may consider appropriate.

Where the number of members of Council who by reason of the provisions of this policy are required to abstain from participating in a matter before the Council is such that the remaining members of Council are not of sufficient number to constitute a quorum of Council, a member of Council who has an interest in the matter may consider, discuss and vote on a matter subject to the following conditions:

a) That the matter be considered in a meeting of Council open to community members

b) That as soon as the matter is introduced the member of Council with an interest in the matter disclose the nature of his or her interest

c) That the matter being considered is within the ordinary course of business of the Council, and

d) That any cost associated with the matter, to be assumed by the community, is reasonable having regard to all of the circumstances

 

Other conditions could be added to address any concerns community members might have.

When in Doubt

Where a member of Council is in doubt as to whether he or she has an interest in a matter to be considered by the Council, he or she may request that the Conflict of Interest Committee determine whether he or she has an interest in the matter within the meaning of this policy.

Where a member of Council is in doubt as to whether he or she has an interest in a matter within the meaning of this policy, he or she shall make a disclosure of the circumstances giving rise to the doubt and the remaining members of Council present may decide the question by a majority vote. Use of Provision and Privileged Information A member of Council shall not:

a) accept any fees, or other benefit that could reasonably be seen to influence any decision made by him or her in the carrying out of his or her responsibilities as a member of Council, or A member of Council shall not: 

a) use his or her position as a member of Council for personal gain or for the personal gain of a family member; and

b) use privileged information to which he or she may have access for personal gain or for the personal gain of a family member.

 

Committees

Where a member of Council or of a Committee has an interest in any matter and is present at a meeting of the Council or of the committee at which the matter is the subject of consideration, the member shall

 

a) prior to any consideration of the matter at the meeting, disclose the general nature of the interest;

b) not take part in the discussion or vote on any question of the matter; and c) not attempt in any way to influence the voting or recommendation on any question on the matter

 

Employees

For all other employees a specific section dealing with conflict of interest will be included in the Personnel Policy to avoid drafting problems and confusion particularly with respect to enforcement and penalty provisions. The members of Council are elected or selected to serve a term of office for the Benoit First Nation Inc by custom election. Provisions relating to disciplinary action or removal from office are limited by the custom election code. This not the case for employees, who could be liable to a whole range of disciplinary action.

However, when an immediate family member of a perspective worker or employment applicant sits on Council or Committees, the immediate family member shall abstain from all interview, hiring, Supervision and management of that employee.

In the case of the Chief or Vice Chief-CEO, the Supervision of that employee shall be managed by the other who is not an immediate family member to maintain an “arm’s length” relationship.

In this context, arm's length definition is - a distance discouraging personal contact or familiarity such as with immediate family member(s).

Enforcement

How can a conflict of interest policy be enforced?

When there is a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest, Council shall appoint an independent Conflict Resolution Committee to deal with the matter:

b) To determine whether there has been a contravention of this policy after having inquired into the matter, and

c) To make resolution and a ruling that as is appropriate.

 

If the decision is appealed in writing to the Council:

1) It shall appoint five members of the Benoit First Nation Inc to constitute the conflict of interest appeal committee

2) Allow the appeal committee to independently adopt such rules of procedure and methods as it considers necessary to carry out its functions under this policy.

3) The appeal committee shall, after having independently reviewed the matter appealed:

a) Affirm the decision or order appealed;

b) Reverse the decision or order appealed and replace it with an order or decision which is appropriate having regard to all of the circumstances or

 c) Modify the decision or order appealed so that it is appropriate having regard to all of the circumstances

 

Penalties

CUSTOM COUNCIL

Where the Appeals Committee determines that a member of Council has contravened the provisions of this policy he or she:

a) Shall call a public meeting of the band electors to discuss the conflict that has occurred and hold a vote with the majority of the band electors regarding removal of the member of Council in question

b) The majority of the band electors may vote to disqualify the member of Council from being a candidate for a position on Council for a period of time; and

c) May order the repayment of any gain realized

 

Contracts for Goods and Services

The member of Council shall declare his or her, or family member's interest in any contract and then abstain from influencing or participating in the decision. A common goal of First Nation Councils is to encourage economic development and employment within the community. A member of Council or his or her family will not be disqualified from contracts as it would defeat this objective and discourage good candidates from seeking a position on Council.

Amendments to the Conflict of Interest Policy

This policy shall be amended from time to time as required only at a duly convened community meeting consisting of the majority electors of the Benoit First Nation Inc, at which the majority of electors present must support the proposed amendments. Public notice of this meeting must be sent to all households in the community seven days prior to the meeting.