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Elizabeth Nelson's City Council Blog

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I write a City Council newsletter with my summary of agenda items coming before City Council. Sign up to receive it first via email, or read it here later on this blog.

Additional Thoughts (May 1, 2021) - New Council Rules

The following was originally published in my May 1, 2021 Newsletter in the "Additional Thoughts" section.

Agenda item DC-5 is amended and additional Council Rules:

DC-5 (21-0823) Resolution to Approve Amendments to the Council Rules


Amendments would remove wording (added in February 2021) that prompted First Amendment concerns from the ACLU. This week’s new Rules would remove that problematic wording, but also add a new Ethics violation for “conduct that is unbecoming of a Councilmember.”


If approved, DC-5 would also create a new Ethics Rule 13 (“Council Behavioral Norms”), including seven bullet points and selectively referencing three Ethic “tenets” from the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). The ICMA is a membership organization for professional (unelected) managers. The complete list of Twelve Ethics Tenets from ICMA can be found here:

https://icma.org/icma-code-ethics


The ICMA specifically recommends that elected officials adopt Ethic Tenets 1 and 3; as proposed in DC-5, Council Rules would instead adopt Ethic Tenets 2, 3, and 4. I am told that the Administrative Committee did not engage in any discussion about why or how these rules would be implemented (e.g. interpretation of “conduct unbecoming”) or their origins in the context of the ICMA.


For more about the recent ongoing efforts to revisit and revise internal Council Rules, see:

https://www.a2elnel.com/post/update-on-aclu-and-new-ann-arbor-city-council-rules