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6.01 Continued from October 13, 2021 Meeting: Resolution Adopting Policy Governing Public Official and Employee InteractionsFS fJrgB11SNED \9j1 File #: 21-296, Item #: 6.1 City of Westminster Westminster City Council Staff Report To: Honorable Mayor and City Council Thru: Christine Cordon, Interim City Manager From: Christine Cordon, Interim City Manager Reviewed by: Erin Backs, Interim Finance Director Prepared by: Christine Cordon, Interim City Manager S11R.IFCT- 8200 Westminster Boulevard Westminster, California 92683 Meeting Date: 10/27/2021 Continued from October 13, 2021 Meeting: Resolution Adopting Policy Governing Public Official and Employee Interactions. RECOMMENDED ACTION/MOTION: Staff recommends that the Mayor and City Council consider the policy and provide direction regarding adoption of a Resolution entitled, "A RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF WESTMINSTER, ADOPTING POLICY GOVERNING PUBLIC OFFICIAL AND EMPLOYEE INTERACTIONS." BACKGROUND/DISCUSSION: At the June 23, 2021, the City Council formed a subcommittee consisting of Council Members Carlos Manzo and Kimberly Ho to work with the City Attorney to create a policy that governs interaction between public officials and city employees. The proposed resolution (Attachment 1) provides for rules, definitions, and sanctions. FISCAL IMPACT: None ATTACHMENTS: 1. Proposed Resolution City of Westminster Page 1 of 1 Printed on 10/21/2021 powered by LegistarTM RESOLUTION NO. A RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF WESTMINSTER, ADOPTING POLICY GOVERNING PUBLIC OFFICIAL AND EMPLOYEE INTERACTIONS WHEREAS, In order to avoid unnecessary disruption of city staff in conducting their day-to-day duties, and in order to protect city employees from inappropriate influences from outside political forces, the City Council desires to adopt a policy that will govern and restrict interaction by elected and appointed public officials with City employees. NOW, THEREFORE THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF WESTMINSTER HEREBY RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS: SECTION 1. The Mayor and City Council hereby adopt the following Policy: Policy Governing Interactions Between Public Officials and City Employees A. Background Westminster is a general law city governed by the council-manager form of government. The Mayor and City Council make policies and fundamental governmental decisions for the City ("Council Members"). The City Council make decisions with advisory assistance from the members of the City's subservient bodies, boards, commissions and committees. For purposes of this policy the Council Members, together with the members of these subservient bodies, boards, commissions and committees, are hereinafter collectively referred to as "Public Officials." The City Manager is charged with implementing the policies and decisions of the City Council, and with administering the day-to-day affairs of the City with the assistance of his/her staff. The City Council has direct authority over the City Manager and the City Attorney. All other employees of the City ("City Staff" or "Staff') are under the direct authority of the City Manager. In seeking to carry out the City Council's vision, it is the City Manager's role to help protect city employees from outside influences, and to keep them focused on performing their duties in a professional and timely manner. This potentially includes protecting them from improper influences or interruptions from Public Officials. Although to some degree there is a need for partnership and collaboration between Public Officials and City Staff, the following policies are adopted to help protect the proper implementation of council-manager form of government, to establish appropriate boundaries and expectations, and to help maintain positive and effective working relationships between Public Officials and City Staff. B. Policies and Rules To help enhance a proper working relationship, Public Officials shall abide by the following policies and rules when interacting with City Staff. Following each policy is a set of rules that give specific application to the policy. In italics following each rule is an explanation of the rule and guidance for interpreting and applying the rule. Policy 1. Public Officials shall deal with City Staff solely through the City Manager or his/her designee. Rules: 1.1. Public Officials should not get involved in administrative functions. To prevent raising concerns of misdeeds, or questionable motives, Public Officials must not attempt to influence City staff on the making of appointments, awarding of contracts, selection of consultants, processing of development applications, or granting of City licenses and permits. 'X X 1.2. Public Officials shall not direct, order, or make demands on any City employee, other than simple inquiries that can be answered routinely and without research and support. All requests for information shall be made in accordance with protocols established by the City Manager. 11L 14401kh, NEL City Staff is organized in a hierarchical structure, and all employees work under the direction and control of several layers of management culminating with the City Manager. The Municipal Code states that individual Public Officials are not part of that management structure, and have no authority to direct Staff members outside of official action taken by the City Council as a whole. When a Public Official attempts to give Staff direction, Staff is put in an awkward position and the management structure is undermined. In some cases such actions have the potential to create liability for the City. 1.3. Public Officials are not authorized to give work assignments to Staff, except that Public Officials may seek the assistance of individual Staff members who have been specifically designated by the City Manager to provide such support. City Staff members are instructed not to take directions or work assignments from individual Public Officials, and to report any such attempts to their Department Director or to the City Manager. A Public Official may ask a routine question of Staff, but beyond that, concerns about work assignment should be addressed to the City Manager or his/her designee. 1.4. Public Officials shall not attempt to reorganize City Staff's priorities, or otherwise influence the manner by which City Staff perform their assigned functions or duties. City Staff are directed in their everyday tasks by their immediate supervisor in accordance with approved work plans. Interference with a City Staff's work routine, priorities or decision-making processes by a Public Official creates confusion and stress and places the Staff member in the difficult position of either disregarding his/her assigned work or appearing to disrespect the Public Official's wishes. All requests for work or research should be directed to the City Manager, or his/her designee. From time to time a Public Official may believe that a problem must be looked into immediately and is tempted to direct City Staff to drop everything and focus on that problem. In those situations it is important for the Public Officials to only communicate their concerns to the City Manager or his/her designee. 1.5. Public Officials shall treat all staff as professionals. City Staff are professionals who have been selected for their jobs based on a process which takes into account their education, experience and demonstrated abilities for their position. In most instances City Staff has substantially more experience and expertise than the Public Officials with respect to their job duties. So it is important to give Staff room to utilize their skills freely, and in a manner that is not hindered by outside influences. All interactions from Public Officials to City Staff should involve clear, honest communication that respects the skills, expertise, experience, and dignity of each Staff member. Poor behavior towards Staff is not acceptable. This includes behavior toward Staff that seeks to intimidate or undermine Staff's independent decision making in performing their job duties. 1.6. Public Official's communications with City staff should be limited to normal City business hours, unless the City Manager has expressly authorized it or unique circumstances warrant it. Responses to City Council questions posed outside of normal business hours should be expected no earlier than the next business day. Except in extraordinary circumstances, as a general rule it's important to let City Staff to only have to work during normal working hours for their position. Public Officials shall also understand that the ability to obtain timely answers to questions may be affected by staffing shortages, or by other City business that takes priority. Public Official -initiated questions will only be answered as Staff is reasonably available to give attention to the matter, without unduly distracting them from the duties of their position. Normal day-to- day City business duties, including the processing of project applications in a timely manner, shall take priority over a Public Official's inquiry, unless a majority of the City Council or the City Manager specifically direct otherwise. 1.8. Public Officials shall not attend meetings between City Staff and private parties and developers, unless specifically requested by Staff. Although Public Officials often feel their attendance at meetings between Staff and developers will be helpful, their presence can place undue influence on the Staff members. Even if the Public Official does not say anything, their presence can impact the meeting by implying support, showing partiality, intimidating staff, and/or hampering City Staff's ability to do their job objectively and in the best interests of the City. -3 1.9. Members should not ask Staff to deviate from established policies and procedures. It is Staff's responsibility to report any such requests directly to the City Manager. 1.10. Public Officials need to understand that legal restrictions may limit certain requests for information, such as the ability to disclose information concerning a personnel matter, labor negotiations or project negotiations. 1.11. Public Officials shall not make promises to individual Staff members about receiving a promotion, raises or other benefits, nor shall they retaliate, or threaten retaliation, against City Staff members as a result of disagreements over policy matters or for other reasons. It is critical to the success of the City that its Staff members are promoted based on the performance of their job duties, and not upon relationships they may have established with a Public Official or upon their support of policies or positions taken by a Public Official. It is also important that City Staff enjoy a workplace free of the fear of retaliation. The City takes great pride in its creativity and its receptivity to new and different ideas. Creativity is fostered by an open and nonjudgmental atmosphere where candor is not penalized. City Staff are hired to offer their professional judgments and opinions, especially in those areas where they have expertise and experience. Public Officials are certainly free to disagree with statements made by City Staff. Indeed, in most situations those Public Officials will have the final word on what policy will be adopted by the City. But disagreements over policy must not extend to threats or generate fear of reprisal. Public Officials enjoy substantial authority within City Hall, and this authority must not be exercised in a manner that intimidates Staff and degrades morale with resulting damage to the fabric of the organization. 1.12. When a Public Officials is concerned about the performance of a City Staff member, that concern should be shared privately with the City Manager or his/her designee. A Public Official shall not take any action on their own to threaten Staff members with disciplinary action, or to otherwise spread their concerns about a Staff member to others. Once the City Manager is informed about a Public Official's concerns about a Staff member, those concerns can then be addressed in accordance with the City's personnel rules, in a manner that protects the City Staff member's rights, and protects the City's authority to discipline its employees in a proper manner. It is never acceptable for a Public Official to directly threaten disciplinary action of any kind. Public Officials should also avoid publically criticizing Staff members, especially those in non -managerial positions. Public Officials should certainly have high expectations of City Staff's work performance, but there is no room in the organization for public humiliation of any person. Policy 2. The City Council sets the City policy, but individual Public Officials shall not interfere with the manner by which the City Manager, or City Staff, perform their duties. 119 Rules: 2.1. The City Manager shall be allowed to perform his/her assigned duties without interference from individual Public Officials. The City Manager takes direction from the City Council acting as a body, not from individual members or other Public Officials. While the City Council as a body may offer its views on matters within the City Manager's area of authority, it is the City Manager, as chief executive officer of the organization, who makes the final decisions on such matters. The City Manager cannot function effectively if he/she receives inconsistent direction from individual Councilmembers, or is not given the support and independence necessary to perform his/her duties in the administration of the City. Even if a project or program was initially conceived and initiated by a specific Public Official, that Public Official must avoid interfering with or directing the City Manager's method of carrying out the City Council's decisions. Once a project or program receives Council approval to proceed, such activity becomes an official activity of the City and not of any particular Public Official. Public Officials do not have authority and should refrain from giving directions or instructions to City Staff, contractors, or consultants. In certain instances the Council as a whole may authorize one or more Council member(s) to be involved as part of an ad hoc committee or otherwise. In such instances the Council member should only be involved to the extent specifically authorized by the City Council, or as requested by the City Manager. 2.2. Public Officials shall not interfere with the implementation by City Staff of projects and programs directed by the City Manager. Any Council member concerns should be directed solely to the City Manager or designee. 2.3. Mayor and City Council offices shall be kept separate from City Hall. In a Council -Manager form of government, the Mayor and City Council members do not play a role in the daily administrative functions of the City. The presence of the Mayor and Council members in areas where City Staff are working can lead to improper influence. Keeping Council member offices separate from City Hall helps to minimize those influences. Policy 3. City resources shall only be used for City business and those activities for which there is a valid public purpose. Rules: 3.1. City resources shall be used for City business, when there is a valid public purpose and proper authorization. 3.2. City Staff shall not be asked or directed to spend time on non -City business. -5 It is improper to ask or require a City employee to engage in non -City related activities. Non -City activities include, among other things, personal errands, work or research that has not been approved by a majority of the council. 3.3. Public Officials should not solicit political support from Staff. Public Officials, particularly elected officials, should not solicit any type of political support (financial contributions, display of posters or lawn signs, name on support lists, or otherwise request help or assistance, etc.) from City staff. However, City staff, as private citizens, have their own constitutional rights and may as private citizens support political candidates of their own choosing. All such activities must be conducted away from the workplace and cannot involve the use any City funds. C. Sanctions Public officials who intentionally and repeatedly do not follow proper conduct as outlined in this Policy may be reprimanded or formally censured by the Council, lose seniority or committee assignments (both within the City or with intergovernmental agencies), or have official travel restricted. Serious infractions of this Policy could lead to other sanctions as deemed appropriate by Council. It is the responsibility of individual Public Official to initiate action if another Public Official's behavior may warrant sanction. The alleged violation(s) can be presented to the full Council in a public meeting. The City Council may order an investigation in any situation where they believe additional facts are needed in order to determine if a violation of this Policy has in fact occurred. AAE02b.� % SECTION 2. The City Clerk shall certify to the passage and adoption hereof PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED this 13th day of October 2021 by the following vote: AYES: COUNCIL MEMBERS: NOES: COUNCIL MEMBERS: ABSENT: COUNCIL MEMBERS: ATTEST: TRI TA, MAYOR IN ABIGAIL Y. ALCALA, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK APPROVED AS TO FORM: CHRISTIAN L. BETTENHAUSEN, CITY ATTORNEY STATE OF CALIFORNIA ) COUNTY OF ORANGE ) ss. CITY OF WESTMINSTER ) HE I, ABIGAIL Y. ALCALA, hereby certify that I am the duly appointed Assistant City Clerk of the City of Westminster and that the foregoing resolution was duly adopted at a regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Westminster held on the 13th day of October 2021. '41� -7 igail Y. Alcala, Assistant City Clerk El