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City government: Ethics Contract, is this common?

radcen

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City government: Ethics Contract, is this common?

I have just learned that our appointed City Manager pressures all the council members and other city employees to sign an "ethics contract" that basically stipulates that no council member will ever publicly criticize or say anything negative about the city and the city's doings. He cannot literally force them to sign, from what I understand, but he applies a great deal of pressure and all do. Supposedly, it can be used against a council person to censure them if they step out-of-line, but that's hearsay, so I can't confirm that part.

This does not seem right to me, but before I jump on this I want to verify... is this a common and legit practice?

Thanks.
 

faithful_servant

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City government: Ethics Contract, is this common?

I have just learned that our appointed City Manager pressures all the council members and other city employees to sign an "ethics contract" that basically stipulates that no council member will ever publicly criticize or say anything negative about the city and the city's doings. He cannot literally force them to sign, from what I understand, but he applies a great deal of pressure and all do. Supposedly, it can be used against a council person to censure them if they step out-of-line, but that's hearsay, so I can't confirm that part.

This does not seem right to me, but before I jump on this I want to verify... is this a common and legit practice?

Thanks.

Signing the contract should not a requirement, but carrying out the actions it stipulates should be part and parcel of being in such a position. "Behind doors" you can fight and argue all you want, but in public, you should be presenting a unified face.
 

radcen

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Signing the contract should not a requirement, but carrying out the actions it stipulates should be part and parcel of being in such a position. "Behind doors" you can fight and argue all you want, but in public, you should be presenting a unified face.
How realistic is that? Our council has 7 seats (including the Mayor). If they debate their differences on an issue behind closed doors they get called for "making secret deals". In some states it's even outright illegal (California's Brown Act, IIRC). They have to disagree and debate in public.

But then, let's say a vote is 5-2 and the motion passes. I would expect the two 'no' votes to support the city in its new law and said enforcement, but I wouldn't necessarily expect them to put on a fake smile and say they think it's a good idea if they honestly do not. To me, that's the type of dishonesty that causes distrust of government.
 

joG

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How realistic is that? Our council has 7 seats (including the Mayor). If they debate their differences on an issue behind closed doors they get called for "making secret deals". In some states it's even outright illegal (California's Brown Act, IIRC). They have to disagree and debate in public.

But then, let's say a vote is 5-2 and the motion passes. I would expect the two 'no' votes to support the city in its new law and said enforcement, but I wouldn't necessarily expect them to put on a fake smile and say they think it's a good idea if they honestly do not. To me, that's the type of dishonesty that causes distrust of government.

Nobody said democracy was easy.
 

Carjosse

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That is how you get corruption.
 

radcen

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That is how you get corruption.
If the rumblings about the City Manager are true... strong willed, runs city with an iron hand, intimidating, etc... that just might be the case here.

I had some interaction with him a few years ago when I had an issue that needed to be taken before the city council. I didn't care for the man. He wasn't outright dishonest or manipulative when I dealt with him, but he did ooze an attitude of, "If the city wants it, then the city should get it. No need for discussion."
 

Carjosse

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If the rumblings about the City Manager are true... strong willed, runs city with an iron hand, intimidating, etc... that just might be the case here.

I had some interaction with him a few years ago when I had an issue that needed to be taken before the city council. I didn't care for the man. He wasn't outright dishonest or manipulative when I dealt with him, but he did ooze an attitude of, "If the city wants it, then the city should get it. No need for discussion."

I would take that up with your state ethics commission or whatever the hell your state has to deal with this.
 

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How realistic is that? Our council has 7 seats (including the Mayor). If they debate their differences on an issue behind closed doors they get called for "making secret deals". In some states it's even outright illegal (California's Brown Act, IIRC). They have to disagree and debate in public.

But then, let's say a vote is 5-2 and the motion passes. I would expect the two 'no' votes to support the city in its new law and said enforcement, but I wouldn't necessarily expect them to put on a fake smile and say they think it's a good idea if they honestly do not. To me, that's the type of dishonesty that causes distrust of government.

My point was that once the decision is made, publicly criticizing the decision is a bad thing to do.
 
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