The Tucson City Council is considering setting a code of conduct for itself and all other city employees.
The discussion follows accusations that Councilman Paul Cunningham made inappropriate comments to female city staff members while on a work-related trip to San Diego. The Tucson economic development agency, TREO, paid for several local government employees and elected officials to go on the trip.
Cunningham issued a written statement in response to the accusations last week, saying he supports the city attorney's inquiry into the accusations.
"I acknowledge that I had too much to drink and said some things that might be considered inappropriate.I apologize for my behavior. I have some personal issues that I'm dealing with. I will make amends to anyone I offended and to my constituents as best I can," Cunningham said in the statement.
The council is asking the city attorney to explain the rules for city employees’ conduct, as the council considers making changes to those rules.
The city should follow a process that is unbiased and conforms to federal law, says Councilwoman Regina Romero.
“We need to have a process if a federal, state or local anti-discrimination or sexual harassment law is broken. In other words, none of us, or our staffs, should be above the law," Romero says.
Councilman Steve Kozachik asked the city attorney to include recommendations that relate to a treatable medical condition and whether the state gift clause is called into question when another entity funds an out-of-state trip for council members.
The city attorney's office is expected to answer some of those questions as part of a scheduled session next Tuesday as council members continue the discussion.
Cunningham, a Democrat, was appointed to a vacant seat on the council in May 2010 and won election to a four-year term last fall.