The Thief River Falls City Council this week adopted a new “Code of Conduct,” outlining expectations when it comes to the behavior of Aldermen in Council and Committee Sessions.
The new policy outlines expectations, behavior and interactions for elected officials; reminding the council their primary concern is to act in the public interest and to refrain from abusive conduct, personal charges or verbal attacks.
The resolution was researched by Mayor Brian Holmer, with the motion offered by Ward 5 Councilwoman, Rachel Prudhomme.
In addition to conduct, the policy also outlines a process to call elected officials “on-the-carpet” for unbecoming conduct, verbal abuse or personal attack including the option of public sanctioning.
The new policy comes in light of a verbal altercation that turned physical at a City Committee Meeting last week. Abrasive verbal and personal comments have been a consistent problem at Thief River Falls City Council and Committee meetings, the new policy would also appear to give the Mayor and Committee Chairs more power to immediately deal with behavior as it happens.
Meanwhile, there was nothing new from the Pennington County Attorney’s Office yesterday concerning the on-going investigation into the allegations of assault at last week’s committee session.
In a related incident; Thief River Falls Assistant City Attorney, Nathan Haase said yesterday he expects the City Council to declare a vacancy in Ward Three Representation at their next regular meeting August 7th.
Third Ward Alderman Josh Hagen stepped down this week, with the City Council passing a resolution accepting his resignation Tuesday Night. Hagen claimed stress from verbal and social media abuse and a physical altercation last week as the cause of panic attacks that had made it difficult to attend council and committee meetings.
Haase says he expects the Council to call for Ward 3 residents interested in the Council Position to submit their names. It will be up to the Mayor and Council to appoint someone to fill the remainder of Hagen’s term, through December.
That same person would have the opportunity to run in their own right this November.