Charles Doud/The Madera Tribune
Members of the Students Working Against Tobacco coalition and the City Council get together for a photograph Wednesday night after the students were praised for their work fighting smoking in the city’s parks.
The Madera City Council Wednesday night adopted a code of ethics to guide its members in how they should conduct themselves in the city’s official business and in their relationships toward citizens and colleagues on the city staff.
Work on the code began after the Madera County Grand Jury scolded the council and some of its members individually over their behavior the past year.
The Grand Jury said it wanted a code of ethics in place by no later than Sept. 30.
City Manager Arnoldo Rodriguez, after conferring with council members, city staff members and others familiar with complaints by the public and individuals about council behavior problems, prepared a code and presented it to the council Wednesday night.
It was adopted unanimously by the council with only one change: a promise to update the code every year if necessary.
One council member, Jose Rodriguez, said the code would be a good thing for the council, and remarked it was just too bad the Grand Jury report with its reprimand was necessary to make the council adopt it.
Some highlights of the code:
“Whereas, integrity of officials of local government is key to effective and fair operation of government and is essential to foster trust in government officials ...
“Members will work for the common good of the residents of the City and not for any private or personal interest, and they will assure fair and equal treatment of all persons, claims and transactions coming before the Council, boards, and commissions ...
“The professional and personal conduct of members must be above reproach and avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Members shall refrain from abusive conduct, personal charges or verbal attacks upon the character or motives of other members of the council, boards and commissions, the public and staff...”
The code says members should also avoid conflicts of interest ... “In order to assure their independence and impartiality on behalf of the common good, members shall not use their official positions to influence government decisions in which they have a material financial interest or where they have an organizational responsibility or personal relationship, which may give the appearance of a conflict of interest. Members shall disclose financial interest as required by law and shall recuse themselves.”
In other business, the council also:
• Recognized and praised Students Working Against Tobacco youth coalition, which has been cleaning up parks of cigarette butts and asking people not to smoke cigarettes or vape. Mayor Andy Medellin said the parks in Madera are smoke free thanks to the efforts of the coalition members.
• Okayed several different alley paving projects on alleys that have not been paved.
• Heard a plea from the Madera Downtown Association for help in paying for another year of crow abatement. Association member Steve Copland aid the abatement project over the past year was successful, but the crows aren’t gone for good.
“They’re back,” Copland told the council, asking for $15,000 to help the association pay for the services of a falconry company whose birds last year chased the crows away from downtown and environs, and made the central part of the city much cleaner than it had been before the falcons went to work.