Proposal for 'cooling-off' period voted down by Halifax councillors

Halifax regional councillors have voted down a proposal for municipal staff to prepare a report on the creation of "cooling-off" rules for municipal politicians and senior staff.

Coun. Shawn Cleary's motion, which was defeated 8-7, called for a scan of other jurisdictions across the country to see if other municipalities have time frames that prevent councillors and managers from going directly from their positions to a job with a company that does work for the municipality or makes development applications.

Cleary wanted to see a buffer period of between six months and a year.

Councillors discussed his motion at a meeting Tuesday night.

Coun. Matt Whitman said on Twitter that the idea was unenforceable and foolish.

"How can you dictate who a former employee can or can't work for?" he wrote.

Rules for provincial officials

In Nova Scotia, former cabinet ministers and ministerial assistants are not allowed, for one year after leaving their jobs, to accept government contracts or benefits, or lobby for them. The period is six months for former MLAs and public employees.

They are allowed, however, to apply for an exemption under the Conflict of Interest Act.