Joint Council discusses new ethics policies ahead of next city administration – Cortland Voice


(Photo source: Kevin L. Smith).

The Common Cortland City Council discussed policies outlining ethical guidelines for city employees, as well as establishing a citywide employee vehicle policy during the meeting Tuesday.

The discussion of the two policies came as the term of the city’s mayor, Brian Tobin, expires next week. Tobin noted that he wanted to make sure that these topics were addressed before Mayor-elect Scott Steve was inaugurated on Jan. 1, as items the council could consider in the future.

“The last council meeting there were discussions regarding the council itself and the possibility of creating accountability rules,” said Tobin (regarding the ethics policy for city employees). He continued: “I derived from this discussion the desire to speak more broadly about an ethics policy for the city.

Board member Katie Silliman (D-2e Ward) had mentioned the need for clearly defined guidelines for board members at previous meetings.

“I think this is a hot potato that we absolutely have to hang on and discuss with the next administration,” Silliman said. “The next tip shouldn’t drop this issue. “

Tobin noted that a clear policy could foster trust with the community.

“If I had run again this is something I would have chased,” he said. “I think we are at a time when we want to continue to help build confidence in government. One of the ways to do this is to show people our standards in terms of what we expect from our elected officials. “

Tobin said the guidelines should be released as soon as possible.

“Now is a good time to do it because we don’t have a problem now,” he said. “Solving problems before they become a problem, in my mind, makes a lot of sense. “

Mayor-elect Scott Steve told The Cortland Voice he had considered establishing “clear” ethics policies, especially for elected city lawmakers. Steve said he discussed the matter with Tom Michales (R-8th Ward) and already had a draft potential ethics policy.

“I hope to have something ready by our second meeting (January),” Steve said. He noted that he will present his guidelines and meet with Michales and the city’s ethics board to develop an ethics policy for Cortland’s elected leaders. ” Something has to be done. If someone breaks the line of ethics, they should be examined, heard, and treated in the same way that we would expect from anyone else.

The council also explored on Tuesday the possibility of instituting general policies for city employees who use vehicles.

Council member Bruce Tytler (D-3e Ward) said the new council will have a good chance to review the city’s current approach to urban vehicles.

“I think it’s a good time to review this,” he said. “One of the hallmarks of government is that it is not programmed to innovate and make changes that sometimes go unrewarded. It’s probably a good time for (a policy that determines) who gets a vehicle, why, how far from town should they live, and do they really need it to do their jobs or is it just a nice one. advantage. (1:20)

Silliman and Michales said they don’t know who currently owns an urban vehicle.

“If you are a city employee, I think this should be necessary for your job,” Silliman said. “I don’t see why this should be of benefit to anyone.”

Tobin closed the discussion by noting that he would compile a list of employees who currently use a municipal vehicle to provide to council members in the future.

Steve noted that he had previously requested inventory lists of all city assets from city department heads, which would include city vehicles.

“The first thing you need to do is get a list of what the vehicles are and who is bringing them home and analyze why,” Steve said. “Then you make a policy that makes sense. ”

The incoming mayor said he plans to establish a city vehicle policy within six months of taking office.

“These are all things that we need to clean up and should be day-to-day business,” he said. “These are policies that should have been in place, but these are all things that we will put in place in the short term.”


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