Members of the Ethics Subcommittee of the Evanston City Council Rules Committee Monday agreed to open up the ethics complaint process to more public scrutiny than had been provided in the draft of a new ethics code prepared ahead of the meeting.

Under the changes, both the complainant and respondent would be informed of decisions at various stages of the process, both parties would have appeals rights and any ultimate action by the City Council would be taken in an open session.

A flow chart showing steps involved in addressing an ethics complaint, with Monday’s modifications in red.

The panel also agreed to give the current Board of Ethics time to review the updated draft of the proposed ordinance at its May 21 meeting and to hold another meeting of the subcommittee if the ethics board sees the need for any further substantial changes.

That’s likely to mean delaying the subcomittee’s report to the full Rules Committee from its scheduled June 3 date to  the Rules Committee meeting in July.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, who chairs the ethics subcommittee, asked Assistant City Attorney Alexandra MacKey to add language to the ordinance that would address situations in which an elected offical might be trying to coerce a city employee.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says the city has a “health workplace” policy that addresses such situations among city employees, but Wilson said that doesn’t cover elected officials.

Related stories

Ethics code changes would add more secrecy (4/19/19)

Ethics board declines comment on new ethics code (4/17/19)

Panel wants outside counsel for ethics board (3/13/19)

Aldermen tackle ethics policy issues (2/12/19)

Aldermen shelve Rainey ethics report (12/4/18)

Related documents

Current draft of new ethics ordinance

Existing city code ethics chapter

State of Illinois model municipal ethics ordinance

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Leave a comment

The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *