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We Passed a Code of Ethics, But Only Ironically

by on 06/09/2015

Based on some responses I got, the biggest news in Edmonds, at least since the opening of T-ball season, was that I left last week’s Council session, early. At least, that got your attention on a matter that is important for our city.

The code of ethics that Council adopted last week is a watered down, toothless, ineffective version of the code of ethics, Attachment 16, which was on the agenda. Ms. Fraley-Monillas’ version excluded appointive officers (that is, all director-level positions), and contained only general statements from the more substantially defined Shoreline Code of Ethics, which was the model for attachment 16. As anyone knows who’s ever been exposed to the legal system, whether the show business version or the real one, you can drive a truck full of weasel-words through general statements. Have we ever found out what the definition of “is,” is?

Let me ask you a question: Do you believe that the manner in which the code of ethics got adopted last week, managed to break the very code of ethics that was adopted last week?

Let’s see: Be dedicated to the concepts of effective and democratic government.

Hmm… The President of our Council, with the aid of the Mayor, squelched all debate regarding the more robust code of ethics, bypassing Attachment 16, which was on the agenda for discussion, and moving forward on Attachment 13, which was not on the agenda for discussion.

Next Code of Ethics statement: Seek to improve the quality of public service, and confidence of citizens.

In conversation on My Edmonds News, residents stated the following:

  • Bad politics. Attachment 16 should have had a robust discussion.
  • I find the whole code of ethics situation distressing and I have lost faith in this City Council.
  • The stench from something which has been smelling in Edmonds is getting much worse.

And finally: Conduct business of the city in a manner which is not only fair in fact, but also in appearance.

Do you believe that the Code of Ethics was adopted in a fair manner, in fact, or in appearance?

We also have a Code of Conduct, in place, adopted in 2013. Let me ask you if you believe the Code of Conduct was followed?

All group leaders (that would include, in this case, both the Mayor and President of the Council) will

  • provide all group members (In this case, Council Members) a fair opportunity to participate.

and all participants, including leaders, will
– respect the individual talents and contributions of others.

I spent three and a half years attempting to get an effective Code of Ethics in place, culminating in Attachment 16, which Council Member Diane Buckshnis also worked on. It was the only Code of Ethics version on the agenda for discussion, last session, and it was not even given a glance.

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