Peter Braithwaite.

City anti-harassment rules would be applied to Evanston council members and other elected and appointed officials under an ordinance to be debated Monday night.

Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd) proposed the change, which is on the agenda for the City Council’s Rules Committee.

In a memo to council members, Corporation Counsel Nicholas Cummings says that as it stands now the city’s code of ethics “does not expressly require covered persons, including elected officials, to abide by the city’s anti-harassment policies.”

The city recently amended its personnel manual for employees to strengthen its anti-harassment provisions.

Under the code of ethics violations would be subject to a fine of between $100 and $750 and the council members could also be “disciplined by City Council in accordance with City Council Rules.”

The proposal follows reports of an incident in February in which the interim city manager, Kelley Gandurski, complained to council members about an encounter at her office with Ald. Clare Kelly (1st).

Gandurski said she was “sworn at and yelled at by the council member in the hallway of my office for all staff to hear.”

The Rules Committee Monday night is also scheduled, at Braithwaite’s request, to have discussions about the possible alternative forms of municipal government in Illinois and the role of council members in the city’s managerial form of government.

It will also consider a resolution from Ald. Juan Geracaris (9th) to switch to ranked choice voting for city offices

And it will consider an ordinance proposed by Ald. Devon Reid (8th) to reduce to 6 from 7 the number of votes required — from among the nine alderpersons plus the mayor — to hire or fire the city manager.

Update 6/8/22:

At Monday’s Rules Committee meeting:

  • The measure to bar harassment by council members was tabled until the next Rules Committee meeting after Ald. Clare Kelly (1st) proposed an amendment that other members criticized as being vague.
  • The ranked-choice voting measure was approved 10-0 to advance to the City Council for a final vote.
  • The proposal to reduce the number of votes needed to hire or fire the city manager failed on a 4-6 vote.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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