Tempe Explores Power To Remove City Leaders

By Mariana Dale
Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - 5:56pm
Updated: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - 7:52pm

The Tempe City Council is considering whether it should be able to remove its own members from office.

“The highest measure of punishment, if you will, the city can mediate is a formal censure, and that’s really it,” said Councilman Randy Keating. “It’s kind of a slap on the wrist, and there’s nothing we can do to address the residents’ concerns about repeat council abhorrent behavior.”

A city council member must forfeit their position in a limited number of circumstances: if they are unqualified per the city’s charter, violate the charter, miss three regular council meetings without approval or are convicted of a crime involving “moral turpitude.”

The council will discuss the issue at its work study meeting Thursday.

On the table is a resolution that would put the council’s ability to remove one of its own on the ballot in November.

The proposal comes after Tempe City Councilman Kolby Granville was fired from his job teaching at a charter school and three former students accused him of misconduct.

Phoenix Police did not find evidence to warrant criminal charges.

Mesa leaders removed councilman Ryan Winkle in August 2017 after he plead guilty to an extreme DUI.

The council is also considering incorporating the city’s personnel rules and regulations and Tempe Employee Ethics Handbook into the City Council Code of conduct.

“Right now if there’s a code-of-conduct violation from a City Council member, there’s not much the City Council itself can do,” Keating said. “Whereas if I was just an employee on the council, that’d effectively end my career in the city of Tempe.”

For example, the code of conduct says a council member can be disciplined when they “have been abusive in attitude language, behavior, or conduct toward a fellow employee, a supervisor, or the public; or their action has resulted in physical harm, injury, or fear of it to such persons.”

The newest employee personnel rules expands that definition to include if an employee “engaged in behavior that does not meet a reasonable standard of workplace civility and respect in his or her interactions with other employees, or the public.”

The personnel rules also require employees to notify Human Resources within five days if they’ve been charged or convicted of a criminal offense.

For more ways in which the policies match up, read this document from the city

If the council decides to move forward there will be a vote at its regular Thursday, June 28 meeting.

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