Over the past several months, Monroe City Council has been in discussion over proposed amendments to the city’s ethics code. Last week a motion was made to accept the second and final reading of ordinance 019/2013, which adopts the ethical standards governing the conduct of municipal officers outlined in Washington State RCW chapter 42.23, as Monroe’s city code.
The purpose of the amendment is to bring clarity to Monroe’s code which was, at times, a challenging code to interpret.
Several portions of the code which differ from the state code will remain intact, and some additional language has been added.
One of the sections remaining intact is the portion of the code which was initiated by citizen petition. In 2004 Monroe resident Todd Fredrickson brought forth an initiative which prohibited any member of a city of Monroe board, commission or any city staff from being awarded any type of contract with the city.
Fredrickson brought the initiative to council with over 1,000 signatures of support; enough to get the item placed on a ballot.
The initiative, which was stricter than the state’s guidelines surrounding contracts, was passed into law by council in September of 2004 as Monroe Municipal Code 2.52.040(D), after council decided against putting the initiative forth to the voters. The section now has been re-codified as a stand-alone section MMC 2.52.030.
Other exceptions include the sections of the code pertaining to creating the Ethics Board, the process outlined for handling ethics complaints and defining an appeal mechanism, as well as regulations regarding penalties. These items have been retained under the new section numbers MMC 2.52.040, 2.52.050 and 2.52.060.
Language was included in the amendment which allows the city’s hearing examiner to fulfill the function of the Ethics Board, when and if a quorum of the board is unavailable.
MONROE POLICE DEPARTMENT
Monroe Police Chief Tim Quenzer spoke at a recent council meeting, sharing news that the department has hired two new potential officers who will attend the police academy early next year; one in March and one in April.
“They’re really having a backup at the academy,” said Quenzer. “They put two extra classes on this year and they’re still behind.”
Chief Quenzer explained that they are unable to reserve space at the academy without having first hired the candidate.
Quenzer also expressed his appreciation for the recent police and fire department appreciation banquet, and thanked councilmembers Patsy Cudaback and Jim Kamp for attending in support of the department.
Quenzer stated that he has worked in other cities and has not experienced the same effort being put forth to honor the police and fire departments.
“This is really unique to Monroe,” said Quenzer.
Monroe’s Police and Fire Appreciation Week took place during the week of Nov. 17 – 23.
“It’s just a very, very special thing and I know the officers appreciate it,” said Quenzer.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN AMENDMENTS
The first reading of several comprehensive plan amendments will take place at the Dec. 10 council meeting; including the East Monroe Rezone ordinance and the School M