Print Council eyes new rules on conduct
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Wednesday, 13 August 2008 13:13

The Camp Verde Town Council revised its code of ethics and conduct last week in an effort to more clearly define how to address complaints.

Drawing heavily on the Town of Parker’s code, the council discussed how to handle problems with staff members.

The discussion took three hours, during which council members managed to keep their tempers while debating sometimes contentious issues.

Though several council members felt it would be wise to have a paper trail to thoroughly document instances where there is a perceived problem so that future councils would have something to turn to, Town Attorney Bill Sims argued that once something is written down, it becomes a public record.

Often, Sims said, the idea of bringing an employee’s conduct to light on the public stage is more than enough motivation to prevent future indiscretions.

When it comes to conflicts and complaints between members of the council itself, it was agreed that any concerns should be taken to the mayor. If the concerns are about the mayor, the Vice Mayor should be notified.

Vice Mayor Brenda Hauser and Councilman Ron Smith sparred over whether the ethics initiative was motivated by the “personal” dislike of some council members for others.

Sims said it might be prudent in some cases to have a neutral third party mediate conflicts.

Councilwoman Norma Garrison said a lot of problems could be resolved simply by dealing with issues personally.

“We don’t handle something when we are offended,” Garrison said. “And then we go out and start talking out in the community.” By the time words and rumors spread on the street, it often makes the problem worse, Garrison said.

Furthermore, Garrison said that all council members and appointed board members should be reminded that what happens in closed-door executive sessions should remain confidential among the people involved.