New Rules Governing Elected and Appointed City Officials Introduced

City Attorney unveils “standards of conduct” for city officials.

Written by TAYLOR EVANKO / Published July 15, 2011 

A draft of protocols for the governing of City officials was recently unveiled and discussed Tuesday evening.

City Attorney Eric Vail, on behalf of the standards ad hoc committee, presented a semi-complete draft of rules during the September 7, 2010 city council meeting.

The new protocols, or standards, will apply to the City Council, as well as city commissions. These rules come at a time when City Hall is struggling to regain the confidence of the community in light of negative press surrounding the Piazza corruption scandal.

“What I want you to think of this document as a standard of conduct,” City Attorney Vail said.

The 11-page document includes seven sections and two appendices that handle the following topics: openness, fairness of process, ethical decision making, efficiency and accountability, and enforcement.

“We want a code of conduct to say how we should act,” Vail said.

He continued, “The Council intends that these protocols will not merely restate existing legal obligations, but will establish a higher standard of conduct for members in the government of this city.”

In regards to addressing the controversy surrounding now former city officials, from the adoption of the protocols, council members will be asked to refrain from engaging with developers once a formal application process has begun.

The new protocols will also allow the City Council to censure members who misbehave, but will not give them the authority to remove elected officials. Only appointed officials can be removed following a majority vote of the City Council.

According to City Attorney Eric Vail, the role of mayor is also refined. The protocols name the mayor the presiding officer, ceremonial head of the city, and spokesperson for the City Council. The mayor is also in charge of maintaining order and decorum.

“It’s a historic time for the city to be having a discussion like this,” Mayor Pro Tempore Tom Chavez said.

Temple City resident Jeffrey Briggs also approved of the draft of protocols.

“It’s great! It’s something I really wanted to see happen,” he said.

The new protocols will be submitted to the City Council for approval at the next meeting, pending a few changes.

Councilmembers Carl Blum and Chavez sit on the standards ad hoc committee.

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