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Proposed El Paso City Council code of conduct sparks heated discussion

Editor’s Note: This article has been corrected to clarify an allegation made about a representative cursing at the meeting and attribution of a quote related to the bantering that took place.


Discussion over an El Paso City Council code of conduct (you can read the entire document at the end of his article) sparked a heated discussion during Monday’s special council work session.

Fireworks City Council discussion turned downright nasty with accusations of power play leveled by one group of representatives against a group which formed the document .

” I’m very disappointed in this document, and I ‘ m disappointed in your role as mayor, ” said Representative Alexandra Annello , reacting to the policy drafted by members of the Financial Oversight and Audit Committee.

Annello and Representative Peter Svarzbein argued only members of FOAC had a chance to draft and review the code of conduct document.

The board is made up of representatives Sam Morgan, Claudia Ordaz Perez, and Henry Rivera.
Representatives Cissy Lizarraga and Cassandra Hernandez were absent.

Svarzbein and Annello moved to postpone voting on the document, arguing members other than FOAC needed time to review it. This sparked criticism across the aisle, which triggered swift reaction.

Annelo even accused Rivera of cursing during the meeting. Morgan said the code of conduct is aimed at preventing personal and belligerent attacks against each other, adding that ” some of the bantering going back and forth that’s taking place today is a great example of the importance of a document of this nature. ”

In the end, members who drafted the document voted in favor of approving the document, with Svarzbein and Annello voting against.

Annello believes the document will dictate who speaks to reporters and ultimately who holds power.

” The control of who we can speak to in the media. And the treatment of certain council members, which as you saw today in this meeting, some were treated better than others. And some were given different respect. And i think that this document just allows that to have some more weight, ” Anello said. ” Four people of this council should not be able to say we already looked over this document and you shouldn’t have any questions. ”

The idea of a code of conduct was sparked when city leaders investigated leaked documents in December, prompting one council member to be blamed as the origin of the leak.

The code of conduct document now goes before the full council for approval before it goes into effect. If approved, the code of conduct will also apply to city employees.

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