It is the Policy of the City of West Chicago that all Elected Officials of the City conform their conduct to all State and Federal laws, statutes as well as the ordinances and resolutions of the City of West Chicago and the general decorum required of the Elected Position held. Upon entering upon the Office to which they are elected, each Elected Official of the City is required to take an Oath of Office affirming the faithful discharge of the duties and responsibilities as an Elected Official of the City of West Chicago.
Any Elected Official who engages in conduct in violation of said responsibility, including posting information in connection with City business or operations on social media, directly or indirectly representing that their positions or opinions are those of the City, in any forum, may be subject to sanctions and as more fully provided for herein.
When warranted, an Elected Official can file a Complaint against another Elected Official, as provided for herein, provided said Complaint is grounded in facts to support such a Complaint. The behavior or conduct prohibited by the Elected Official includes, but is not limited, to the following type of behavior:
A. Possessing an interest, directly or indirectly, in a matter which may be brought before the City Council for a final decision.
B. Failing to disclose in writing to the Mayor any interest the Elected Official may have which could create the appearance of an impropriety in the performance of an official act by the Elected Official.
C. Disclosing confidential matters discussed in a properly held Executive Session Meeting outside of the Executive Session, including discussing said matters even in general terms outside of the Executive Session.
D. Becoming involved in any matter concerning the adjudicatory duties and responsibilities of the Elected Official.
E. Engaging in any conduct which could adversely impact the legislative duties and responsibilities of the Elected Official, including commenting on matters individually and outside of the collective discussion at a Council or Committee Meeting including, but not limited to, zoning matters, special use requests, siting regulated facilities and amendments to the City Code.
F. Engaging in activities, whether on social media or any other forum, which could constitute conduct unbecoming of an Elected Official. Such activities include, but are not limited to, making slanderous, libelous, disparaging or demeaning comments about other Elected Officials of the City or City Staff. Engaging in any conduct which, in the determination of the majority of the City Council, brings the City in disrepute.
G. Engaging in commentary on City managed social media platforms without City Council authorization.
H. Using the Title or Position of the Elected Official in any correspondence, flyer, publication, social media platform or other forum to represent or imply that such are the position or views of the City Council, without authorization to do so or using or referencing said Title or Position in or at any Meeting, function or activity unrelated to the Elected Official’s duties with the City.
I. Speaking on behalf of the City, or representing himself or herself to be presenting the position or views of the City Council without City Council authorization to do so.
J. Commenting on City matters in a capacity as a representative of the City without first obtaining verification of the information or the accuracy thereof from City Staff.
K. Failing to seek information from City Staff to accurately convey matters pertaining to the City to the public at large.
L. Misusing City resources, property or personnel.
M. Using City Facilities, equipment, supplies or personnel for the Elected Official’s private purposes.
N. Engaging in disruptive conduct with City Staff. Engaging in frequent or excessive contact with City Employees, including contacting them outside of business hours for non-emergency related matters. Leaving harassing or inappropriate voicemails or text messages to City Employees or other Elected Officials of the City.
O. Utilizing the services of the City Attorney’s Office without advising the City Administrator of the general nature of the matter, unless such is not feasible or the matter involves or pertains to the City Administrator. The City Attorney attends the Meetings of the City Council, certain Committee Meetings and Executive Sessions thereof, as communications with the City Attorney’s Office in this setting allows input from other Elected Officials and permits the City Attorney to provide any opinions or directives to the entire City Council.
P. Engaging in any conduct which will or could have an adverse effect on City operations or efficiencies.
Q. Using vulgar language in any Public Building or Facility of the City.
R. Performing an official act with the intent to directly and adversely affect a business within the City, except in acting in the official capacity of the Elected Official.
S. Participating with any organization with a matter pending before the City, without disclosing same in writing to the Mayor.
T. Failing to disclose in writing to the Mayor any interests or involvement with any Organization transacting business with the City or in which said Organization is seeking relief of some type from the City.
U. Using any City Employee Directory for any reason unrelated to official City business.
V. Engaging in misconduct in connection with the Elected Office held.
W. Publicly criticizing City employees or getting involved in administrative functions that are the responsibility of the City Administrator or other City employees, including, but not limited to, attending staff meetings as well as getting involved in recruitment and other employment decisions for which the Elected Officials are not responsible.
A. A Complaint against any Elected Official shall be handled as follows:
1. A written Complaint for possible discipline of an Elected Official shall be presented to the Mayor. In the event a complaint for possible discipline is directed at the Mayor, said complaint shall be presented to the Mayor pro temp, this said complaint shall follow the same Complaint Guidelines. The Council will, as soon thereafter as practicable, convene an Executive Session, in accordance with the Illinois Open Meeting Act, 5 ILCS 120/2(c)(3), for purposes of discussing the written Complaint and possible discipline of an Elected Official. A majority vote of the City Council is required to allow the Complaint to move forward for a Sanctions Hearing and determination. If a majority of the City Council agrees, in Executive Session, the Complaint shall be presented to the Elected Official against whom the allegations are directed.
B. Said Elected Official shall have the following rights in the Complaint process:
1. The opportunity to respond to the Complaint; and
2. The opportunity to participate in any informal resolutions of the Complaint; and
3. The opportunity to have a Hearing on the Complaint; and
4. The opportunity to speak to the nature of any contemplated sanctions sought to be imposed in the event the City Council determines sanctions are appropriate, as provided for herein.
C. Neither the Elected Official making the Complaint, nor the Elected Official against whom the Complaint is directed, shall be subjected to any unjust treatment as a result of either filing the Complaint or being the subject of the Complaint.
D. Any extension of time needed to comply with the Complaint procedures set forth herein will be by agreement of the Parties, for good cause shown.
E. The Elected Official filing the Complaint may submit a written request to withdraw his/her Complaint at any time.
Complaints will be processed in the following manner, within the stated time limits:
Step I: Initial Complaint
The Elected Official will be presented, in writing, with the Complaint. The Complaint must be presented within ten (10) working days from the date of the conduct complained of, or as soon thereafter as practicable, given the schedule of the City Council Meetings.
Step II: Presentation of Complaint/Hearing with the City Council
The Complaint will be presented to the City Council by the Mayor in a Closed Executive Session, at a time determined by the Mayor. The accused Elected Official shall be given Notice of the Complaint and the Meeting scheduled to present the Complaint, no less than forty-eight (48) hours prior to the conduct of said Executive Session. An informal presentation of the Complaint shall be made to the whole City Council. The accused Elected Official shall have an opportunity to respond to the Complaint. Only information pertinent to the Complaint shall be discussed.
If the matter is not resolved through the information discussion of the City Council and it appears as though the implementation of discipline may be warranted, the matter shall be advanced for a Hearing before the City Council, as provided for herein.
Step III: Sanction Procedures
When a violation is determined by the City Council to be serious enough to possibly warrant discipline of the Elected Official, the matter shall be scheduled for a Hearing before the City Council. The accused Elected Official shall be provided a copy of the written Complaint. A Hearing, in Executive Session, shall be scheduled by the Mayor at a time and date convenient for the accused Elected Official, however, in no event shall the Hearing be extended beyond a period of thirty (30) days, unless good cause is shown for said extension.
The City Council shall present the information and evidence relating to the Complaint. The accused Elected Official will then be afforded an opportunity to respond to the information presented in support of the Complaint and to provide and offer any information or evidence in support of his or her defense to the allegations in the Complaint. Thereafter, the City Council will deliberate, in the presence of the accused Elected Official, and will determine whether sufficient information was provided to support the allegations in the Complaint and, if so, whether discipline of the accused Elected Official is necessary and/or appropriate.
When a violation is determined by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the City Council Members present, including the Mayor, after affording the accused Elected Official an opportunity to be heard, the City Council may impose discipline, as provided for herein. The discipline imposed shall be determined based upon the same two-thirds (2/3) vote of the City Council. The City Council can thereafter determine, by a two-thirds (2/3) vote as to whether any discipline imposed shall be done in an Open or Closed session Meeting of the City Council.
When it is determined that an Elected Official violates a rule, regulation, policy or procedure of the City Council, which violation or any such conduct impacts City Council operations, City Council relations or City Council/Staff interaction, after a Hearing, as provided for above, the City Council may impose an Oral Reprimand or Censure against the Elected Official found to be in violation of same. The determination to impose said sanction must be approved by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the City Council Members present, including the Mayor.
When it is determined that an Elected Official violates a rule, regulation, policy or procedure of the City Council, which violation or any such conduct impacts City operations, City Council relations or City Council/Staff interaction, which is more serious in nature or which is a continuation of a violation previously determined, after a Hearing, as provided for above, the City Council may impose a Written Reprimand against the Elected Official found to be in violation of same. The determination to impose said sanction must be approved by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the City Council Members present, including the Mayor.
When it is determined that an Elected Official commits a serious violation of a rule, regulation, policy or procedure of the City, which violation or any such conduct has a serious impact on City operations, City relations or City Council/Staff interaction, and which is more serious in nature or which is a repeat or continuation of a violation previously determined, after a Hearing, as provided for above, the City Council may impose a Suspension of the Elected Official found to be in violation of same from a City Council Meeting or Committee of the Whole Meeting, the date of which Meeting, shall be specifically identified. The determination to impose said sanction must be approved by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the City Council Members present, including the Mayor.
Step IV: Decision Final
It is understood that the Decision, as reflected in said vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the City Council Members present, including the Mayor, shall be a final Decision. The City Council shall maintain the Meeting Minutes of all Executive and Open Session Meetings, as required by law.