I’m not sure what to make of this.
City Council is considering imposing a code of conduct on itself that would give it the power to reprimand or censure members.
It already has the ultimate enforcement tool – impeachment – to punish misconduct.
However, there are no intermediate sanctions in between outright removal of a council member and looking the other way.
So, Councilman Mike Sullivan has been working with the city attorney and others to craft a code to rein in unbecoming conduct.
“Not every infraction would rise to the level of impeachment, but that does not mean you would not want to put a council member on notice that their behavior is not going to be tolerated,” Sullivan said. “Right now, we have no ability to police ourselves.”
Council conduct already is governed by an ordinance that prohibits using office for personal gain, disclosing confidential information, seeking future employment with organizations with business before the council, and more.
The draft’s disciplinary provisions would give council four progressively more severe sanctions to impose on violators: verbal reprimand, written reprimand, censure and impeachment.
In theory, I have no particular objections to this idea, but I would like to know what exactly we’re talking about before I sign on. What kind of conduct do we think has been going unpunished that we need to deal with? Let’s see what the specifics are, and then we can decide if it’s worth doing.