And the process gets started.
A day after declaring he would not do so, Houston City Councilman Mike Sullivan filed a complaint against Councilwoman Jolanda Jones, seeking possible discipline following the release of an Office of Inspector General report that concluded Jones had used city employees and resources to benefit her private law practice and then lied to investigators about it.
Sullivan’s complaint, filed late Friday, starts in motion a process that ultimately could result in Jones’ removal from the council. Sullivan led the work on a new ethics policy this year that enables the Council to impose a range of punishments from reprimand to impeachment for unbecoming conduct.
“As chair of the Ethics and Council Governance Committee and someone who championed creating this council member code of conduct, it just makes sense that I’m the one that files the complaint so that the process can begin,” Sullivan said.
That process likely will begin on Monday with a copy of the complaint being delivered to Jones, said City Attorney David Feldman, who oversees the Office of Inspector General. Once she receives the report, Jones will have two or three days to designate a fellow council member to represent her on a three-person review committee convened by the mayor to consider the complaint.
Mayor Annise Parker, Sullivan as the complainant, and Jones’ designee likely will meet the week after next, Feldman said. They will have four options: Forward the complaint to the full council for possible disciplinary action; resolve it through an agreement with Jones; request further investigation; or do nothing and let the matter die in the committee without full council consideration.
See here for some background. I will be very interested to see whom CM Jones selects as her advocate. This case ought to provide an interesting test for this new system.
UPDATE: CM Jones has sent out the following statement:
“After having been out of the city for an annual conference, I have had an opportunity to review the OIG report. I will fully cooperate and am committed to working within the city’s new process. I am confident that when the facts come to light I will have acted within the acceptable standards of conduct.”