City council battles over new code of conduct

El Paso News
The City of El Paso had a heated discussion on applying a new document that holds elected officials accountable, however, not everyone is on board.
 
“Some of us are outspoken, and really hold our own ground on certain issues, and I think that there has been some resentment from that,” City Representative of district 2 Alexsandra Annello said.
 
City council battled back and forth over an agreement the city of El Paso has never had before: A code of conduct. It’s a document that serves as an agreement for elected officials to clarify on how to interact with each other, city staff, and media.
 
“It even says in this document that the Mayor can remove you from boards, that he can take certain privileges away from you, I asked what those privileges were and it was not told to me. It was not answered by him,” Annello shared.
 
The document was recommended January of this year from the Financial Oversight and Audit Committee which only consists of four council members.
 
“I’d like to believe that the committee I sit on, is a very professional committee. We do our due diligence, we do our homework, and we don’t work off of accusations from any window, we work off of fact,” Dr. Sam Morgan, City Representative of district 4 shared.
 
Although the audit committee agreed that the document is needed for the city, Annello disagreed because she said not all city reps are treated the same and believes it could be used against some of them.
 
“It is not a weaponized document, it’s not something that is going to be able to harm a person or an elected official, but it just gives one more layer of our ability to interact with another, with the public, and the media,” Dr. Morgan explained.
 
“This is absolutely a way to weaponize certain council members. Sharing our opinions publicly, with their constituents, and city council as well,” Annello added.
 
City Rep Peter Svarzbein also voted no. Reps Cissy Lizarraga and Cassandra Hernandez were not at the special meeting to vote.
 
The item is awaiting the Mayor’s signature before it goes into effect.

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