The Tucson City Council is giving itself guidelines for how to handle inappropriate behavior in the future with a new code of ethics.
Tuesday the council asked its attorney, Mike Rankin, to draft a code of ethics based on the code the Phoenix City Council uses.
The idea is to give the council the ability to respond to the inappropriate behavior of a fellow councilmember, up to and including censure or a formal notice of disapproval, says councilwoman Karin Uhlich.
"If there's a super-majority vote, the mayor and council at least have that option," she says. "We recognize that it's up to the electorate to choose their representation--we should never interfere with that, nor are we a law enforcement agency--but serious issues have come up and are likely to come up in the future."
The discussion of setting new standards for dealing with council behavior came up after Councilman Paul Cunningham was accused of making inappropriate sexual remarks to female city staffers while drinking alcohol on an economic development trip to San Diego.
Cunningham has since apologized for offending anyone.
While a new code of ethics won't apply to Cunningham's alleged past misdoings, it would guide the council on its options in the future, says Councilman Steve Kozachik.
"Right now, the only option that exists under our charter is that if we act out at a council meeting the mayor can fine one of us $50," Kozachik says.