The Rosenberg City Council has officially done away with its code of conduct policy. At Tuesday night’s meeting, a majority on council voted to discontinue the decorum policy for elected and appointed officials.
The policy was adopted on April 16.
“We have laws and we have rules that are in the code of procedures that address conduct,” Mayor Bill Benton began. “So if anybody were to (participate in) disorderly conduct, we could stop them if they get too far. If they do something wrong to violate state statute, they can be apprehended or we could ask someone to excuse themselves.
“We have ways of dealing with that. As far as people saying stuff about each other on Facebook, that’s just something you can’t really stop.
“They’re going to do it and my suggestion is just live with it.”
According to council member Isaac Davila, fellow member Richard Olson has called him and former council member Amanda Barta bad names on Facebook on multiple occasions. Davila told The Herald that these posts were published on Facebook about a week before the May 4 election.
According to the policy, written notes, voicemails, texts, emails and social media posts should be treated as potentially public communication.
“If you wish to clarify a situation, clarify it,” Benton continued. “If someone says something wrong about you on their Facebook, by golly, go on your Facebook and clarify it or just ignore it. “So, I think the decorum policy is not effective. And I know it was well-intended when (council member) Steven (DeGregorio) brought it up.”
DeGregorio, who asked the city attorney to draft a decorum policy in March, said he was in favor of keeping the code of conduct.
“Steve, I know you wanted to help,” Benton said. “And at the time, I thought it would help. But it really hasn’t helped. And we’re spending too much time and public resources discussing something that we shouldn’t discuss.”
Council member Lisa Wallingford agreed, adding that the decorum policy didn’t “have enough bite to it.” Council member Kevin Raines made a motion to rescind the decorum policy. Before Raines could finish making his motion, council member Jacob Balderas seconded it.
Davila and DeGregorio voted against the motion, but it carried 5-2.
“Sometimes you win here, sometimes you don’t,” Benton said. “We will rescind this decorum policy.” The next council meeting will be held Aug. 20 at City Hall, located at 2110 Fourth St.