Council to address ethics code issues

The chair of the Evanston City Council's Rules Committee tonight will recommend that a special committee be named to review a half dozen issues related to the city's Code of Ethics.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, who's serving as the Rules Committee chair, will ask the aldermen and mayor to name herself, and aldermen Peter Braithwaite, Don Wilson and Tom Suffredin to the panel, along with Mark Sheldon, a former chair of the city's ethics board.

A memo from City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz and Corporation Counsel Michelle Masoncup highlights issues the committee might choose to address:

  1. Use of profanity by members of the public and City Council during public meetings.
  2. Whether the mayor and aldermen should be allowed to vote on ethics code violations brought against themselves.
  3. Whether the city should pay legal fees for council members appearing before the ethics board.
  4. Whether the city should provide outside counsel for the Board of Ethics.
  5. Whether the city should have different ethics code provisions for elected officials and staff.
  6. Whether the city should adopt an ordinance regulating lobbying.

The memo suggests that the new ad hoc committee be directed to report back to the Rules Committee at its April 1 meeting.

Sheldon, a distinguished senior lecturer emeritus in philosophy at Northwestern University, served on the city's Board of Ethics from 2009 to 2017.

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