Common Council passes ethics board ordinance amendment
The Common Council unanimously approved an amended ethics board ordinance at tonight’s meeting. This, after citizen Doug Williams (who’s running for alderperson of the 9th district against Keith Rosenberg) admonished the council during the citizens’ comments portion of the meeting, for not having met with Alderperson Patrick Juliana to discuss his proposal. Alderperson G. John Ruffolo distributed an amendment whereby the city may enter into an agreement to exchange services to create an ethics board if a case should arise. Click here to read the entire draft ordinance: “Ethics Board” and “Code of Ethics.”
“We enter into all kinds of exchange of services agreements with other municipalities, for example, for water, etc. This would be no different.” Ruffolo said that he spent about an hour and a half with Juliana a few weeks ago to draft this amendment. They also worked through the city attorney’s office, and they also contacted Racine’s city attorney, Robert Weber. Juliana stated that this agreement would save the taxpayers money.
Mayor Keith Bosman asked the clerk, Debbie Salas, to read the new proposed section. This is what it said:
“Section 30.135 – Alternate Hearing Procedure
The City may enter into an intergovernmental cooperation agreement with any other municipality to provide reciprocal hearing services. Unless there is an objection from the covered person responding to the Complaint, if the City has entered into such an intergovernmental cooperation agreement, notwithstanding the provisions of Section 30.13, the hearing on the Complaint shall be heard by the ethics board of the other municipality pursuant to the intergovernmental cooperation agreement. In the event of an objection by the accused covered person responding to the Complaint, the hearing will be conducted pursuant to the procedures in Section 30.13, the intergovernmental cooperation agreement notwithstanding. An objection by the accused covered person to the application of the hearing process articulated in the intergovernmental cooperation agreement must be made by filing such objection in writing with the City Clerk within seven days of the service of the finding of probable cause upon the accused covered person, or it is deemed waived.”
The other city (be it Racine, or another municipality) would have to adopt a comparable ordinance. If it is denied, then it would revert back again to our common council for an ordinance adjustment. This ordinance is being adopted contingent on both bodies agreeing. Alderperson Patrick Juliana was concerned that, “If it is denied by either party, that it wouldn’t go away entirely.”
Alderperson Theodore Ruffalo stated that “this law merely enables the Mayor’s office to create the details of the agreement. It enables the dialogue of entering into the agreement. It is the framework that puts the guidance in place. If no agreement is worked out with another city, we would proceed as is outlined in the agreement other than the municipal option. The remainder of the ordinance would control.”
Alderperson Ray Misner stated that he was in support of the concept. “We are improving our current ethics ordinance, not creating a new one. Racine has already handled an ethics case (my case). It was an unbiased situation, a fair outcome.” Alderperson Rocco LaMacchia also agreed.
To read a prior article about this topic, click here: “Ethics Board Discussed at Common Council Meeting.”