City Council to consider Code of Conduct resolution

The Bethel City Council has a resolution on their upcoming agenda that calls for them to consider whether or not to adopt a proposed Code of Conduct for members of the council. The item is on the consent agenda for the December 11th, 2018 regular meeting under New Business.

The pending resolution states that the citizens and businesses of Bethel are entitled to have council members who treat one another, city staff, constituents and others with respect, and that the Code of Conduct requires a commitment to uphold a standard of integrity beyond that required by law.

Resolution 18-20 is sponsored by council member Perry Barr. If the resolution is adopted, any amendments to it must be done by resolution.

Within the proposed code are items such as:

“In Public Meetings: Practice civility, professionalism and decorum in discussions and debate. Difficult questions, tough challenges to a particular point of view, and criticism of ideas and information are legitimate elements of a free democracy in action. This does not allow, however, council members to make belligerent, personal, impertinent, slanderous, threatening, abusive, or disparaging comments. Council members should conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times.”

And, “Council Conduct with the Public: In public meetings. Making the public feel welcome is an important part of the democratic process. Body language and facial expressions are often carefully watched by the public. No signs of partiality, prejudice or disrespect should be evident on the part of individual Council members toward an individual participating in a public forum. Every effort should be made to be fair and impartial in listening to public testimony. A pattern of turning away, laughing, ignoring or talking to the person next to you when a particular member of the public is before the council shows disrespect and presents a poor image of impartiality and respect towards the public process.”

Also according to Res. 18-20, if a council member is observed acting outside the standards of this Code of Conduct, the process outlined in Chapter 2.06 of the Bethel Municipal Code (BMC) shall commence.

Chapter 2.06 of the BMC concerns the Board of Ethics, and the investigation, the making of findings and recommendations regarding sanctions, and penalties and remedies for violations.