Letter to the editor: New council code of conduct — a way to publicly humiliate ‘unliked’ councilmembers?

The Updated Code of Conduct, presented in the Aug. 11 Committee of the Whole Edmonds City Council Meeting, is not innocent. As the three (new) members, with council president, the majority were comfortable with the language, it is highly possible it is meant to be subjective. It appears a political stage is nearly set for the councilmembers to accuse, judge, and sentence their peers. This currently includes no-witness ”he-said/she-said” documentation.

During the Aug. 11 meeting, to push through the Updated Code of Conduct, our majority of elected officials disregarded
•Existing Code of Conduct 1306

•Listening to a Requests of a Citizen

•Council Members repeated requests to discuss the proposed Code Updates

•Following Roberts Rules of Order

•Roberts Rules of Order 11th edition regarding the proposed codes

•Washington State’ Municipal Services and Resources (MSRC)

What, or who has created such decisiveness, with ongoing 4-3 voting splits? There appears to be a political bonding, or at a minimum like-think.

How many times have the four voted differently from one another?

We are in dangerous political times with misinformation and disinformation. This is likely a means to attempt to publicly humiliate ”unliked” members. It also creates an easier path for the council president and the new bond to forward their political goals.

Councilmembers Paine, Olson and Buckshnis stated they wanted to follow up with the discussion of the bigger picture of the Code of Conduct, and the Council President gave her word to “have a deeper discussion next week [Aug. 18].” However, the council president, with the mayor, placed the nearly 30 points of Code of Conduct (to replace the existing code of conduct, resolution 1306) on the agenda as an Action Item with disregard to at least three councilmembers’ requests and the council president’s word. This is after the council president defended she was applying fairness to each councilmember.

Comparing the actual Committee of the Whole portion on the “Updated Code of Conduct” starting at 1:17:50 on the video:  http://edmondswa.iqm2.com/Citizens/SplitView.aspx?Mode=Video&MeetingID=3267&Format=Agenda  to the minutes of this the section on the Code of Conduct pages 75 to 91  http://edmondswa.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=2639&Inline=True, there are many inaccuracies.

One point of irony is that when the new mayor was used as a reference when he was on council and would have been in violation of the Code of Conduct, he requested to not use personal references. This is exactly what this Code of Conduct is intended to do: Call out individuals by name and punish them. However, this time, it includes minor infractions, such as “you hurt my feelings.”

Referencing the above six bullet points, is it in the best interest of the citizens, for the freshmen councilmembers, led by the council president, and possibly the mayor, to replace their experienced predecessors’ Code of Conduct?

Lori Rasmussen


  1. 3rd bullet point: •”Council Members repeated requests to discuss the proposed Code Updates” meaning, an opportunity for the discourse of the proposed update as a whole.

  2. Our city Council never voted to authorize Council member Laura Johnson to write a Council Code of Conduct. In fact, it was reported in myedmondsnews that “Johnson said she initiated research on issue last fall, as a council candidate,”

    This proposed Council Code of Conduct bears no resemblance to Resolution 1306, A Resolution Of the Edmonds City Council Implementing A Code of Conduct For Mayor, Council members and all members of City Boards, Commissions, Committees or Work Groups.

    Here is a link to Resolution 1306:


    What Council member Laura Johnson has authored is NEW code regarding Council’s conduct.

    Council President, in conjunction with the Mayor, is responsible for the Council Agenda. Since there was never a vote by full Council to direct the writing of a Council Code of Conduct, Council President Fraley Monillas has INDEPENDENT of council authorized Councilmember Laura Johnson’s writing of NEW code.

    Instead of “Review of Council Code of Conduct” the agenda item on the August 11 and August 18 covers should read:

    “Review of Council President Adrienne Fraley Monillas’s proposed Council Code of Conduct.”

    1. Members of a legislative body like city council are always free to propose new legislation. They don’t need pre-approval from council to do so. That said, when inquiries are made as to the authorship of such a proposal, we should expect honest and candid answers. Call it transparency, and open government.

  3. Former Council Member Bloom: Please consider running for council again. I will again help paint your unique signs. Given that those signs were a work of art, done correctly they can be posted now and simply be part of the art work of the new Creative District. They can be done in a way that does not match the criteria in the code as a political sign and even without your name they would start to create recognition. 2 foot by 2 foot art piece would be great scattered all over town. The State even has grant money for the creative district at good “scattered art” could likely qualify for a grant!

  4. Joan, my basic comment about most of what is current happening with council is based on my observations of councils over the last 45 years since moving here. City government does not do the best it can for its citizens. Their are too many individual and group “agenda” the are not based on the need to represent all of our citizens. I believe citizens want the basics like, water, sewer, roads, sidewalks and other basic items we expect to be part of our basic taxes. Spending $2m a year for roads is not sexy. But “saying” save the marsh, new Civic Park are way nor fun to say then a new way to get rid of sewer sludge.

    The points that you and Lori made make sense. Keep speaking up Joan, your insights can be helpful for our community!

  5. I watched the council meeting and have to admit I was a bit perplexed with the entire code of conduct discussion. While I appreciate the time and efforts that Laura Johnson spent on the endeavor, believe it was four months, I was left wondering why? I believe the council has an existing document that deals with code of conduct…if it needs improvements or adjustments, why not use it as a starting point and make the needed edits. I remember a past retreat where the council worked on how to work together politely. How much time needs to be spent on teaching our elected officials on how to be civil? And do we need to do this each time we elect new people? I had hoped I was electing people that could just come to the council and get to work…please show me that I am correct. Aren’t there more important things for our local government to be working on other than how to get along???

  6. For the City Council Meeting on August 18:

    FIRST, Does the following seem oxymoronic to you:

    8. ACTION ITEMS: 3. Review of Council Code of Conduct (60 min)

    SECOND, Kindly assist me with finding the attachments in the minutes from the August 11 meeting for the “Updated Code of Conduct”. I do not see Maureen Judge’s letter and I do not see any of the documents referenced in the letter.

    This following is the missing letter with the referenced documents. However, I haven’t found them in the agenda packet. This could make the meeting more challenging for the Council Members and Citizens.

    “City Council Agenda Item
    Meeting Date: 08/11/2020
    Review of Council Code of Conduct
    Staff Lead: Council/Laura Johnson
    Department: City Council
    Preparer: Maureen Judge
    In December 2013, the Council passed Resolution No. 1306 adopting a new Code of Conduct and in June
    2015, the Council approved a new Code of Ethics.
    Staff Recommendation
    Councilmember Laura Johnson has revised the Code of Conduct for the Edmonds City Council to include
    language that addresses appropriate communications between Council to staff, the general public, and
    to fellow Councilmembers; the Council is asked to review these updates.
    Updated Code of Conduct 2020 DRAFT
    Resolution 1306 Code of Conduct
    CODE_OF_ETHICS 06-02-2015”

    The Council may want to table the Minutes to have the time to see the additional differences between the recorded audio-video and the written minutes.

    THIRD, Since there are inconsistencies, and approximately 30 items in the Updated Council Code of Conduct before consider the existing rules, perhaps Council might consider other options such as
    a. sending the Updated Code back to Committee
    b. table the item indefinitely
    c. follow the existing rules

    1. Lori, I think this Code of Conduct effort is spinning off the racetrack. Hopefully, Council will vote to table such or just vote to remove it from the Council’s agenda for Tuesday night. If this is desired by the Legislative Body as a whole, Council should initiate the process by majority vote and establish the related process.
      We already have a Code of Conduct for the Mayor, City Councilmembers, and members of all City Boards, Commissions, or work groups. We also have a separate Code of Conduct for City Staff, including Directors. We have a Code of Ethics that is supposed to govern the conduct of elected officials and appointed citizen volunteers serving in an official capacity (i.e. Boards and Commissions).
      Then, of course, we have our official Municipal Code and our Community Development Code. I can provide evidence that all these codes are disrespected on occasion and that there is rarely any accountability. My opinion is the underlying culture is simply different rules for different people.
      Why work on something like this when Edmonds City government cannot even do simple things like track attendance at meetings per Chapter 1.05 of our official Municipal Code? On July 12th, I emailed Chapter 1.05 information to the Mayor, cc’d to Council and a Planning Board member and stated that it is possible that several Planning Board Positions were vacated during 2019 under our attendance laws.
      Nobody responded to me despite our Code of Ethics which says they SHALL: “Keep the community informed on municipal affairs and encourage communications between the citizens and all municipal officers. Emphasize friendly and courteous service to the public and each other; seek to improve the quality of public service, and confidence of citizens.”
      Why adopt yet another Code when our existing Codes are disrespected?

  7. While much of the discussion is about the improper, needless, and blunt roll-out of this “code update”, let’s not lose sight of the intended impacts of these revisions. The new code is pretty blatantly meant to be used as a weapon to hammer folks for sharing viewpoints/ discussions that upset the council majority (why else be against a super majority for reprimands? if that’s egregious of an act, then certainly 5 or 6 members would agree.) Our council majority is looking for a new and improved way to keep discussions out of the council chamber. That’s simply horrifying.

  8. Nathan,

    Thank you for stating what should be obvious to those following this disturbing process. You have identified exactly what is going on:

    “Our council majority is looking for a new and improved way to keep discussions out of the council chamber. That’s simply horrifying.”

  9. Thank you Nathan and Joan for both pointing out the genuine purpose and council majority motivation to silence the minority council views.

    What I would really like to see at tonight’s meeting; Why the current Mayor and his administration aren’t enforcing our current sign codes. Any change in the sign code requirements require a Moratorium ordinance approved by the City Council. Mayor Nelson by code is charged with the duty to enforce all city ordinances and codes. His decision to stop a Code Enforcement Official’s order to correct sent to a violator and base on the residential zone code that sign is too large, over height and to close to the property line is derlitication of his duty and sworn oath of office.

    We all know the current Fireworks code has never been enforced other than occasionally police showing up and saying stop it and don’t do it again. This kind of enforcement sure doesn’t work in my neighbor. So much for code enforcement if the administration is never going to penalize the violators.

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