Chapter 2.13
CODE OF ETHICS – CITY COUNCIL, CITY BOARDS, COMMISSIONS AND COMMITTEES

Sections:

2.13.010    Policy.

2.13.020    Definitions.

2.13.030    Prohibited conduct.

2.13.040    Ethical standards.

2.13.050    No right of action created.

2.13.060    Ethics officer.

2.13.070    Advisory opinion.

2.13.080    Complaint and enforcement procedures.

2.13.090    Council protocol and policies – Conflict.

2.13.010 Policy.

A.    Purpose. The Bothell city council has adopted a code of ethics for members of the city council and the city’s boards and commissions to promote public confidence in the integrity of local government and its fair operation. This code of ethics will provide the basis for education and training for city officials, both elected and appointed, to ensure that the highest standards and best practices with regard to ethics will be followed.

B.    Intent. The citizens and businesses of Bothell are entitled to have fair, ethical and accountable local government. In keeping with the city of Bothell’s commitment to excellence, the effective functioning of democratic government therefore requires that:

1.    Public officials, both elected and appointed, comply with the laws and policies affecting the operations of government;

2.    Public officials be independent, impartial and fair in their judgment and actions;

3.    Public office be used for the public good, not for personal gain; and

4.    Public deliberations and processes be conducted openly, unless legally confidential, in an atmosphere of respect and civility. (Ord. 2182 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015).

2.13.020 Definitions.

A.    “Official” means a member of the city council or a member of council-appointed city boards and commissions and other council-appointed task groups or committees.

B.    “Relative” means spouse, domestic partner, child, step-child, parent, step-parent, parent-in-law and sibling. (Ord. 2182 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015).

2.13.030 Prohibited conduct.

A.    Conflicts of Interest. Officials shall not participate in quasi-judicial or site-specific land use city decisions, the purchase or condemnation of property, or city decisions involving the awarding of a grant or contract in which any of the following has an interest:

1.    The official;

2.    A relative;

3.    An individual with whom the official resides; or

4.    An entity that the official serves as an officer, director, trustee, partner or employee.

    Officials shall abstain from participating in deliberations and decision-making where conflicts exist pursuant to RCW 42.23.030. RCW 42.23.040 shall apply to conflicts or potential conflicts with respect to remote interests in city decisions involving the awarding of a contract.

B.    Conflict of Interest in Litigation Matters. All Bothell city council members owe a fiduciary duty to the public and are required by law to maintain confidentiality with regard to information gained through their official position. As such, a council member who participates in litigation contrary to an official city of Bothell action or position, as adopted or ratified by a majority of the city council, should recuse themselves and not participate in any vote, deliberation, executive session, or distribution of confidential information regarding further consideration or action in that matter once litigation has been served or filed regarding the matter. Litigation shall include but is not limited to legal action or appeals of any type including growth management hearings board appeals. For purpose of example and not as an exhaustive listing, a council member shall be deemed to be participating in litigation when they communicate with parties or representatives of any party engaged in litigation contrary to the city without the advice and approval of the city attorney or legal counsel for the city. Other forms of participation which are prohibited include providing information, public comment or testimony in opposition to the city or in favor of the opposing party or the opposing position in a litigation matter.

1.    The fact that a council member voted in opposition or expressed an opinion in opposition to the official action or position prior to the filing or service of litigation shall not, by itself, be sufficient to trigger the need for recusal or nonparticipation.

2.    Once litigation has been served or filed, communication regarding the case with anyone other than city staff or legal counsel involved in the litigation of the case is discouraged during the pendency of the litigation. Council members should not make any comment, provide any information or otherwise involve themselves in the matter without the assistance and advice of the city attorney or the city’s outside legal counsel.

3.    Council members shall voluntarily recuse themselves and choose not to participate under the conditions listed above; however, if council members fail to voluntarily recuse themselves or withdraw from participation, any other council member may challenge the ongoing participation and request the challenged council member to disclose any communication and participation with regard to the pending litigation.

4.    If the conflict still cannot be resolved voluntarily after such challenge, a majority plus one of the council as a whole may vote to sanction the challenged council member and limit their participation in the matter to the extent allowed by law on the basis of conflict of interest. Later legislative participation by a previously recused or sanctioned council member, related to the same issue, is not prevented by the provisions of this subsection once the conflict no longer exists or the litigation has terminated.

C.    Misuse of Public Position or Resources. Except for infrequent use at little or no cost to the city, officials shall not use public resources that are not available to the public in general, such as city staff time, equipment, supplies or facilities, for other than a city purpose.

D.    Representation of Third Parties. Except in the course of official duties, officials shall not appear on behalf of the financial interests of third parties before the bodies on which the officials serve or in interaction with the body’s assigned staff. Further, the members of the city council shall not appear on behalf of the financial interest of third parties before the council or any board, commission or proceeding of the city, or in interaction with staff.

E.    Solicitation of Charitable Contributions. No official may make direct personal solicitations for charitable contributions from city employees.

F.    Gifts and Favors. Officials shall not take any special advantage of services or opportunities for personal gain, by virtue of their public office, which are not available to the public in general. They may not solicit or receive anything of monetary value from any person or entity where the thing of monetary value has been solicited or received or given, or to a reasonable person would appear to have been solicited or received or given, with intent to give or obtain special consideration or influence as to any action by the official in his or her official capacity; provided, that nothing shall prohibit campaign contributions which are solicited or received and reported in accordance with applicable law. They shall not accept or solicit any gifts, favors or promises of future benefits except as follows:

1.    No official may accept gifts, other than those specified in subsection (F)(2) of this section, with an aggregate value in excess of $50.00 from a single source in a calendar year or a single gift from multiple sources with a value in excess of $50.00 in accordance with RCW 42.52.150(1); provided, that if the $50.00 limit in RCW 42.52.150(1) is amended, this section shall be deemed to reflect the amended amount. For purposes of this section, “single source” means any person, corporation, or entity, whether acting directly or through any agent or other intermediary, and “single gift” includes any event, item, or group of items used in conjunction with each other or any trip including transportation, lodging, and attendant costs. The value of gifts given to an official’s family member or guest shall be attributed to the official for the purpose of determining whether the limit has been exceeded, unless an independent business, family, or social relationship exists between the donor and the official, family member or guest.

2.    The following items are presumed not to influence the vote, action, or judgment of the official, or be considered as part of a reward for action or inaction, and may be accepted without regard to the limit established by subsection (G)(1) of this section:

a.    Unsolicited flowers, plants and floral arrangements;

b.    Unsolicited advertising or promotional items of nominal value, such as pens and note pads;

c.    Unsolicited tokens or awards of appreciation in the form of a plaque, trophy, desk item, wall memento, or similar item;

d.    Unsolicited items received by an official for the purpose of evaluation or review, if the official has no personal beneficial interest in the eventual use or acquisition of the item;

e.    Informational materials, publications or subscriptions related to the recipient’s performance of official duties;

f.    Food and beverages consumed at hosted receptions where attendance is related to the official’s duties for the city;

g.    Admission to, and the cost of food and beverages consumed at, events sponsored by or in conjunction with a civic, charitable, governmental or community organization;

h.    Unsolicited gifts from dignitaries from another city, state or a foreign country which are intended to be personal in nature;

i.    Food and beverages on infrequent occasions in the ordinary course of meals where attendance by the official is related to the performance of official duties; and

j.    Any gift which would have been offered or given to the official if he or she were not an official.

3.    The presumption in subsection (F)(2) of this section is rebuttable and may be overcome based on the circumstances surrounding the giving and acceptance of the item.

G.    Confidential Information. Officials shall not knowingly disclose or use any confidential information gained by reason of their official position for other than a city purpose nor may the officer use such information for his or her personal benefit, nor may the officer engage in business or professional activity that the officer might reasonably expect would induce him or her by reason of his or her official position to disclose such confidential information. “Confidential information” means:

1.    Specific information, rather than generalized knowledge, that is not available to a person who files a public records request; and

2.    Information made confidential by law.

H.    Property Interest. It shall be an appearance of conflict, which must be disclosed, if any official acquires or actively seeks to acquire any interest in property in which the city has any ongoing interest or stated intent or goal to acquire or if the official will personally benefit by the city acquiring or not acquiring the property, i.e., a financial interest in the property or financial interest in immediately adjacent property. (Ord. 2182 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015).

2.13.040 Ethical standards.

A.    In addition to BMC 2.13.030, which shall be administered by the ethics officer, officials shall comply with the following standards:

1.    Compliance with Other Laws. Officials shall comply with federal, state and city laws in the performance of their public duties. These laws include, but are not limited to: the United States and Washington Constitutions; laws pertaining to conflicts of interest, election campaigns, financial disclosures and open processes of government; and city ordinances and policies. See Appendix A of this section. Officials shall comply with the requirements of Chapter 42.23 RCW regarding contract interests. As required by RCW 42.17A.565, no official shall knowingly solicit or encourage, directly or indirectly, any political contribution from any city employee. Except under limited circumstances described in RCW 42.17A.555, no official may use or authorize the use of the facilities of the city for the purpose of assisting a campaign for the election of any person to office, or form the promotion of or opposition to any ballot proposition in a manner not available to the general public on the same terms.

B.    Officials are also encouraged to comply with the following standards:

1.    Personal Integrity. The professional and personal conduct of officials must be above reproach and avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Officials shall refrain from abusive conduct, threats of official action, personal accusations or verbal attacks upon the character or motives of other members of council, boards and commissions, the staff or public. Officials shall maintain truthfulness and honesty and not compromise themselves for advancement, honor, or personal gain. Additionally, officials shall not directly or indirectly induce, encourage or aid anyone to violate this code of ethics and it is incumbent upon officials to make a good faith effort to address apparent violations of this code of ethics.

2.    Working for the Common Good. Recognizing that stewardship of the public interest must be their primary concern, officials will work for the common good of the people of Bothell and not for any private or personal interest, and they will ensure fair and equal treatment of all persons, claims and transactions coming before the city council, boards and commissions.

3.    Respect for Process. Officials shall perform their duties in accordance with the processes and rules of order established by the city council and boards and commissions governing the deliberation of public policy issues, meaningful involvement of the public, and implementation of policy decisions of the city council by city staff.

4.    Commitment to Transparency. Transparency, openness and accountability are fundamental values of the city and are also required by the laws of the state of Washington. The public has a right to inspect and copy public records unless exempt by law from disclosure. All materials relating to the conduct of city government that are prepared, possessed, used or retained by any official, including email and other electronic records, are subject to requirements for retention, protection and disclosure. Officials may assume that all copies of materials received from city staff have already been archived and do not need to be retained. Officials shall not discard, damage or destroy the original copy of any public record unless the city complies with the record retention schedules established under Chapter 40.14 RCW. In accordance with the requirements of state law officials shall promptly provide any records requested by the public records officer in response to a disclosure request under the Public Records Act, Chapter 42.56 RCW. It is the responsibility of the public records officer together with the city attorney to decide which records meet the definition of “public record” and whether or not such records are exempt from disclosure; officials must not take it upon themselves to decide whether a record meets the definition of a public record, that a record is exempt from disclosure, or to otherwise conceal a record.

5.    Conduct of Public Meetings. Officials shall prepare themselves for public issues; listen courteously and attentively to all public discussions before the body; and focus on the business at hand. They shall refrain from interrupting other speakers; or otherwise interfering with the orderly conduct of meetings.

6.    Decisions Based on Merit. Officials shall base their decisions on the merits and substance of the matter at hand and on greater public policy considerations, rather than on unrelated considerations.

7.    Ex Parte Communications. In quasi-judicial matters, officials shall publicly disclose substantive information that is relevant to a matter under consideration by the council or boards and commissions, which they may have received from sources outside of the public decision-making process.

8.    Attendance. As provided in RCW 35A.12.060, a council member shall forfeit his or her office by failing to attend three consecutive regular meetings of the council without being excused by the council. Unless excused, members of boards and commissions are expected to attend all meetings.

9.    Nepotism. The city council will not appoint relatives of city council members to boards or commissions or other appointed positions.

10.    Advocacy. When acting in an official capacity as a city official representing the city, officials shall represent the official policies or positions of the city council, board or commission to the best of their ability when the city council, board or commission has taken a position or given an instruction. When a city official is appointed to fill an official role on a governing body in a capacity that is not dependent upon their status as a city of Bothell official, but, for example, as a representative of a geographic area, the official shall endeavor to represent the policies or positions consistent with those of the constituency he or she has been appointed to represent. When presenting their individual opinions and positions, members shall explicitly state they do not represent their body or the city of Bothell, nor will they allow the inference that they do. Officials have the right to endorse candidates for all council seats or other elected offices. It is inappropriate to make or display endorsements during council meetings, board/commission meetings, or other official city meetings. However, this does not preclude officials from participating in ceremonial occasions, community events or other events sponsored by civic groups.

11.    Role of Legislative Officials. The council shall have all the powers and authority granted to legislative bodies, except insofar as such power and authority is vested in the city manager in accordance with Chapter 35A.13 RCW.

APPENDIX A 

Chapter 9A.72 RCW

Perjury and interference with official proceedings

RCW 35A.12.060

Vacancy for nonattendance

RCW 35A.13.020

Incompatible offices

Chapter 40.14 RCW

Preservation and destruction of public records

RCW 42.17A.555

Use of public office or agency facilities in campaigns – Prohibition – Exceptions

RCW 42.17A.565

Solicitation of contributions by public officials or employees

Chapter 42.23 RCW

Code of ethics for municipal officers – Contract interests

Chapter 42.36 RCW

Appearance of fairness doctrine – Limitations

Chapter 42.56 RCW

Public Records Act

(Ord. 2182 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015).

2.13.050 No right of action created.

A.    Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as creating or providing a basis for a private cause of action against the city or against any official by third parties.

B.    No retroactive application is intended by the adoption of this chapter which shall only apply to acts that occur after the effective date thereof. (Ord. 2182 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015).

2.13.060 Ethics officer.

A.    The city council creates the position of ethics officer. The city manager will interview and choose the ethics officer(s) subject to confirmation by the city council. The ethics officer shall serve for a minimum one-year term under contract with the city of Bothell. The ethics officer shall be admitted to the practice of law and shall have sufficient experience and training. The city staff liaison and support for the ethics officer shall be the city attorney. The ethics officer shall act as legal counsel for the city under the direction of the city attorney for administrative purposes but shall perform the duties specified in this code independently and free of interference from city staff and officials. In the event that the currently appointed ethics officer is unavailable or unable to act for any reason, the city manager shall have authority to appoint a pro tem ethics officer to serve as needed.

B.    The ethics officer will provide for annual review of this code of ethics, review of training materials provided for education regarding the code of ethics, and advisory opinions concerning the code of ethics. The ethics officer shall also be responsible for the prompt and fair enforcement of its provisions when necessary, and shall at all times maintain the impartiality of the office by revealing information provided to the officer only in the context of rendering opinions to the city and its officials and staff as necessary or in response to legal process.

C.    The ethics officer, in addition to other duties, may recommend changes or additions to this code of ethics to the city council designed to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of processing ethics questions.

D.    In rendering opinions under BMC 2.13.070 or 2.13.080, the ethics officer shall consider the intent subsection contained in BMC 2.13.010 and in RCW 42.23.010. (Ord. 2182 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015).

2.13.070 Advisory opinion.

A.    Upon request of any official, the ethics officer shall render written advisory opinions concerning the applicability of BMC 2.13.030 and 2.13.040 to hypothetical circumstances and/or situations solely related to the persons making the request. The ethics officer will not render opinions on matters that are the purview of other government agencies such as the city public records officer, public disclosure commission or the King/Snohomish County prosecutor.

B.    Upon request of any official, the ethics officer may also render written advisory opinions concerning the applicability of the code of ethics to hypothetical circumstances and/or situations related to a matter of city-wide interest or policy.

C.    The ethics officer will endeavor to respond to requests for advisory opinions within 14 days of submission of the request, or more rapidly if the requester expresses urgency in the request.

D.    An official’s conduct based in reasonable reliance on an advisory opinion rendered by the ethics officer shall not be found to violate this code of ethics, as long as all material facts have been fully, completely, and accurately presented in a written request for an advisory opinion, the ethics officer issues an advisory opinion that the described conduct would not violate the code of ethics, and the official’s conduct is consistent with the advisory opinion. The ethics officer reserves the right to reconsider the questions and issues raised in an advisory opinion and, where the public interest requires, rescind, modify, or terminate the opinion, but a modified or terminated advisory opinion will not form the basis of a retroactive enforcement action against the original requestor. Advisory opinions will contain severability clauses indicating that, should portions of the opinion be found to be unenforceable or not within the ethics officer’s authority, the remainder of the opinion shall remain intact.

E.    All officials subject to this chapter are strongly encouraged to seek advisory opinions from the ethics officer at the earliest possible opportunity whenever an official has reason to believe that his or her circumstances could present a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest or any other violation of this chapter.

F.    Advisory opinions are subject to the attorney-client privilege. (Ord. 2182 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015).

2.13.080 Complaint and enforcement procedures.

A.    Complaint Procedures.

1.    Any person who believes an official has committed a violation of the code may file a complaint with the city clerk. Complaints shall be subject to the following requirements:

a.    The complaint must be based upon facts within the personal knowledge of the complainant;

b.    The complaint must be submitted in writing and signed under oath by the complainant;

c.    The complaint must include a detailed factual description of the alleged violation including the date, time and place of each occurrence and the name of the person or persons who are alleged to have committed a violation. The complaint must also refer to the specific provisions of the code of ethics which are alleged to have been violated;

d.    The complaint must be accompanied by all available documentation or other evidence known to the complainant to support the allegations of the complaint;

e.    The complaint must be filed within two years of the date of the occurrence or occurrences alleged to constitute a violation of the code of ethics.

2.    Complaints shall be filed with the city clerk who shall forward the complaint and any accompanying documentation and evidence to the ethics officer and the respondent official within five business days. Prior to forwarding the complaint to the ethics officer, the city attorney shall review the complaint for compliance with the requirements of subsection (A)(1) of this section. Should the city attorney find that:

a.    The complaint is untimely; or

b.    The complaint has not been signed under oath; or

c.    The complaint does not, on its face, state facts which, if proven to be true, constitute a violation of the provision of this code of ethics referred to in the complaint; or

d.    The complaint fails to refer to a specific provision of the code of ethics which is alleged to have been violated, the city attorney shall, within 10 working days of the filing of the complaint, enter a written order stating the city attorney’s findings and, except as hereinafter provided, dismissing the complaint. The written order shall be transmitted to the complainant, the official that is the subject of the complaint, and the city council. If the city attorney finds that the complaint is deficient pursuant to the findings in subsection (A)(1)(b) or (d) of this section, the city attorney shall issue an order notifying the complainant that unless a corrected complaint is filed within five working days of the issuance of such order, the complaint shall be dismissed. The complainant may appeal the dismissal of a complaint under this subsection by filing an action in the King County superior court for a writ of certiorari pursuant to Chapter 7.16 RCW within 10 days of the date of issuance of the order dismissing the complaint.

3.    The respondent official shall, within 20 days of the date of mailing or personal service of the complaint by the clerk, file with the clerk any response to the complaint the respondent official wishes to make. A response to a complaint shall be made in writing signed under oath by the respondent. A response may include a detailed statement of facts pertaining to the complaint made on personal knowledge of the respondent and may include any matter constituting a defense to the complaint. A response should be accompanied by all available documentation or other evidence known to the respondent official which the respondent wishes the ethics officer to consider. The respondent official may stipulate to some or all of the facts alleged in the complaint and shall either admit or deny the alleged violation. If the violation is admitted, the respondent may also submit an explanatory statement and may request a particular disposition.

4.    Upon receipt of a response to a complaint, the ethics officer shall review the complaint and response, together with all supporting documentation and evidence submitted by the complainant and the respondent official. Within 10 days of receipt of the response (or, if no timely response is submitted, within 30 days of the date of mailing the complaint to the respondent official by the city clerk), the ethics officer shall issue a decision in writing, including findings of fact, conclusions of law and a determination of whether any violation of the code of ethics has been established. The final written decision shall be signed and dated by the ethics officer. The city clerk shall deliver a copy of the final written decision to the complainant, the respondent official, the city council and to any other person who has submitted a written request therefor.

5.    A complaint for ethical violations filed under this chapter shall be considered a claim filed against an official pursuant to Chapter 2.25 BMC.

6.    Either the complainant or respondent official may, within 30 days of the date of the written decision, appeal to the King County superior court by writ of certiorari pursuant to Chapter 7.16 RCW.

B.    Enforcement Procedures.

1.    Stipulations. At any time after a complaint has been filed with the ethics officer, the ethics officer may seek and make recommendations that the city council enter into a stipulation with the person complained against. The recommended stipulation will include the nature of the complaint, relevant facts, the reasons the ethics officer thinks a stipulation is appropriate, an admission of the violation by the person complained against, a promise by the person complained against not to repeat the violation, and if appropriate, a recommended remedy or penalty. The recommended stipulation shall be sent to the person who made the complaint and the person complained against and forwarded to the city council for action.

2.    Ethics Officer Final Decision. If the final decision of the ethics officer contains a determination that one or more violations of this code of ethics have occurred, the decision shall also contain any recommendations of the ethics officer to the city council for any remedial action or sanction that the council may find appropriate and lawful under the council’s rules. If no appeal is filed in superior court, the council in consultation with the city attorney shall, within 45 days of the date of the decision, determine what, if any, of the recommendations of the ethics officers to adopt.

3.    City Council Action. Final city council action to decide upon stipulations and recommendations from the ethics officer shall be by majority vote in a public meeting. If the proceeding involves a member of the city council, deliberations by the council may be in executive session. The member of the council against whom the complaint was made will not participate in any executive session and shall not vote on any matter involving him or herself. However, upon request of the member of the council against whom the complaint was made, a public hearing or public meeting before the council will be held on the issue of penalties.

4.    Disposition. In the event the ethics officer finds that the person against whom the complaint was made has violated the code of ethics, then the city council may take any of the following actions by a majority vote of the council. The action of the city council shall be final and not subject to further review or appeal except as may be otherwise provided by law.

a.    Dismissal. Dismissal of the complaint without penalties.

b.    Referral. A complaint may be referred to another agency with jurisdiction over the violation, such as the public disclosure commission. Final action on the complaint may be stayed pending resolution of the matter by the agency to which it was referred.

c.    Admonition. An admonition shall be an oral nonpublic statement made by the mayor, or his/her designee, or if the complaint is against the mayor, the deputy mayor or his/her designee, to the official.

d.    Reprimand. A reprimand shall be administered to the official by a resolution of reprimand by the city council. The resolution shall be prepared by the city council and shall be signed by the mayor or, if the complaint is against the mayor, the deputy mayor.

e.    Censure. A resolution of censure shall be a resolution read personally to the person in public. The resolution shall be prepared by the city council and shall be signed by the mayor, or if the complaint is against the mayor, the deputy mayor. The person shall appear at a city council meeting at a time and place directed by the city council to receive the resolution of censure. Notice shall be given at least 20 calendar days before the scheduled appearance at which time a copy of the proposed resolution of censure shall be provided to the person. The resolution of censure shall be read publicly, and the person shall not make any statement in support of, or in opposition thereto, or in mitigation thereof. The resolution of censure shall be read at the time it is scheduled whether or not the official appears as required.

f.    Loss of Pay. Any official who the city council determines to have negligently committed a violation of this chapter may be subject to a civil penalty of loss of pay not to exceed three months’ salary.

g.    Removal – Member of Board or Commission or Other Appointed Task Group or Committee. In the event the individual against whom the complaint was made is currently a member of a city board or commission or other task group or committee, appointed by the city council, the city council may, in addition to other possible penalties set forth in this section, and notwithstanding any other provision of the Bothell Municipal Code, by a majority vote remove the individual from such board or commission effective immediately.

h.    Contract Void. As provided by RCW 42.23.050, any contract made in violation of Chapter 42.23 RCW, “Code of Ethics for Municipal Officers – Contract Interests,” is void.

i.    Other Penalties. The city council may impose a restriction, loss of a committee assignment, or loss of appointment as a representative of the city for any regional or multijurisdictional body or membership on any board or commission which requires an appointment or confirmation of an appointment by the city council.

5.    Protection against Retaliation. Neither the city nor any official may take or threaten to take, directly or indirectly, official or personal action, including but not limited to discharge, discipline, personal attack, harassment, intimidation, or change in job, salary, or responsibilities, against any person because that person files a complaint with the ethics officer.

6.    Administrative Dismissal of Complaints. Pursuant to the provisions below the city attorney and/or ethics officer shall have the authority to administratively dismiss frivolous complaints.

a.    The city attorney or ethics officer in consultation with the city manager may dismiss any complaint if after a preliminary review or investigation the city attorney or ethics officer determines that:

(1)    The complaint is obviously unfounded or frivolous; or

(2)    The complaint presents a violation of this chapter, but any violation that may have occurred does not constitute a material violation because it was inadvertent and minor, or has been cured, and, after consideration of all of the circumstances, further proceedings would not serve the purposes of this chapter.

b.    If the complaint is dismissed under this subsection, a written notice of the decision shall be provided to the complainant, respondent, and the council. (Ord. 2182 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015).

2.13.090 Council protocol and policies – Conflict.

Any council adopted protocol or policy shall, as much as possible, be read in harmony with this chapter. In the event of a conflict between this chapter and any council protocol or policy, the terms of this chapter shall prevail. (Ord. 2182 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015).