After stating he would file an ethics code violation to prove the new code adopted by the Dewey-Humboldt Town Council in June would be a nightmare when it went into effect, Dewey-Humboldt Council Member Jack Hamilton filed two complaints against council members Victoria Wendt and Amy Timmons at the Dewey-Humboldt Town Council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 1.
Hamilton said he was trying to demonstrate that most people need processes to make sure the entire process is fair.
“The last council had a process for when the complaint came in to actually define what was required,” he said. “The complaint … it’s something I’ve been guilty of too. You can’t speak without recognition from the mayor.”
All of the council members have spoken out of turn and have violated that section of the code, Hamilton said, noting it is still a violation of town code and that delves into which codes matter and which ones don’t. There isn’t much without processes, he said.
There’s a time for filing ethics complaints, but there was a better way to go about doing it, said Council Member Doug Treadway. Processes are important, but the council doesn’t have time for a lot of nitpicking and should focus on the work of taking care of the town’s business, Treadway added.
It’s foolishness and a waste of time and town money, said Wendt, commenting that a lot of the public that reads the council’s agendas doesn’t come to the meetings.
“All they see is an ethics complaint filed against two council members. They have no idea it’s gone into this type of discussion and he’s only just wanting to make a point. Jack, I don’t think you’re aware of how those kinds of things can affect people,” she said, also remarking on a citizen’s comment about it being discrimination because he filed the complaint only against the two women on the council. “By signaling and pointing out only her and I, it’s a discrimination type of thing. I am not one that’s above the fact that if you come to me, Jack, I will be more than happy to listen to you.”
Hamilton also filed an ethics complaint at the same meeting against Mayor Terry Nolan and said he did so because Nolan did not allow for public comment at a special meeting.
The Dewey-Humboldt Town Code allows for public comment on agenda items, but open meeting law says it has to be on the agenda that public comment is allowed, Hamilton said.
“I was wondering whether we had to actually put it on the agenda to listen to agendized items or whether the town code took care of that part,” he said. “The town code says we can take comment on agendized items. It’s not on the agenda, but it’s in the town code.”
The Town Code does provide the understanding that the council intends to receive public comments prior to voting on any matter, said Town Attorney Susan Goodwin. On that item, the mayor should have allowed public comment, Goodwin said.
Hamilton said he dropped the complaint against Nolan as he just wanted a legal ruling and Timmons noted he was speaking without recognition from the mayor during the discussion.