By Jim Tortolano
A decision on a proposed code of ethics and conduct for elected and appointed officials was again delayed at Wednesday night’s meeting of the Westminster City Council.
After a contentious discussion that lasted for more than an hour, the council voted 4-1 – with Councilman Sergio Contreras opposed – to continue the matter to the May 22 council meeting. It was previously continued from the March 27 meeting.
At issue was a 12-page code of conduct created by community member David Johnson and Assistant City Attorney Christian Bettenhausen. It covered not only ethical conduct but also issues of courtesy toward the public and among officials.
Much of the conversation among council members was a back-and-forth between Contreras and Councilwoman Kimberly Ho.
She objected to the code of conduct on two grounds: that Johnson was an appointee of Councilman Tai Do to a city commission and would not be an objective source for the writing of the code, and that the document was too specific.
“This is a total conflict,” she said of Johnson’s new role and complained that the document was too long and detailed. “It needs to be broad. I would like to have a general statement.”
That began a testy exchange between Contreras and Ho.
“You’re not making any sense,” Contreras said.
“I don’t want a detailed statement that details every step a council person could take,” she replied.
“This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard from an elected official,” chimed in Do.
Contreras and Ho kept up their near-dialogue until a motion to approve the code of conduct was made and seconded. But that was overtaken by a substitute motion to delay consideration again to next month.
“I just want to make it clear why I voted against this,” said Contreras. “We’re just going around in circles,” he said, adding that “the community is judging us for this.”