The mayor holds a public office, with public duties and stature. The mayor is expected to conduct himself/herself in manner appropriate to the office.
In the mayor’s different capacities – mayoral, political and personal – he or she is expected to act lawfully and to behave in a way that upholds high ethical standards. The mayor should bear in mind that even when he or she acts in his or her personal or political capacity, his or her conduct may impact on the council’s reputation.
Care needs to be taken to not blur the distinctions between the capacities in which the mayor may act. The mayor’s role and powers should not be used to assist the mayor in his/her personal capacity. While this role and powers provide a platform for the mayor to succeed (or fail) in his or her political capacity, the mayor should take care not to use them to gain an unfair or improper advantage over other political actors.
When acting in a mayoral capacity, the mayor must comply with the Code of Conduct for Elected Members . Breaches of this code may result in a complaint that leads to the member’s censure by the governing body (including the mayor) . The governing body does not have other powers to sanction the mayor for such breaches.
Ultimately, the mayor is democratically accountable to the public for his or her conduct. In certain circumstances the mayor’s conduct may be subject to investigation by the Auditor-General, e.g. where concerns are raised relating to conflicts of interests (especially relating to financial interests) , the use of council’s resources , or the mayor’s conduct resulting in the council suffering financial loss or damage . The mayor’s exercise of powers may also come under scrutiny by the courts in judicial review.