In a meeting lasting almost an hour, 3 Vancouver council members settled on a recommendation of fellow council member Jeanne Harris, receive a letter of reprimand and be removed from all boards she currently sits on, representing the city council and that they appointed her to, for her disrespectful behavior displayed September 13, 2010. VIDEO
Boards she sits on where she received a gubernatorial appointment (CRC) are not affected as it was felt they are outside the scope of the city council.
It was determined early on, with advice from city attorney Ted Gathe, that Harris’ disrespectful interaction with citizens is not covered by the current ethics policy. Councilman Burkman recommended council revisit it to update the ethics policy to include how members of the public are treated.
Council members stated they felt her actions the evening of September 13 were “demeaning,” “disturbing” and “highly inappropriate,” towards Mayor Leavitt and Council member Jeanne E. Stewart.
Removal from office was also ruled out early as the threshold for such action was not met, Gathe advised. He stated to reach that high threshold would take something along the lines of committing an actual crime.
The panel broke it down to 4 areas of concern, 1: Her conduct towards the public, which is not addressed by current policy. 2: Her conduct towards Jeanne Stewart during the meeting deemed inappropriate. 3: Her interference with the Mayors duty in conducting the meeting deemed inappropriate. 4: Her confrontation with Jeanne Stewart after the meeting also deemed inappropriate.
Discussion fell onto whether she should receive a letter of reprimand or a censure and it was determined there was not a lot of difference between the two. A letter of reprimand was deemed appropriate. Mayor Pro Tem Larry Smith stated he wanted more than just a “slap on the wrist” and Pat Campbell added he too wanted to give the letter “some teeth” behind it.
Jack Burkman said there few sanctions available they could use and then it was decided they would recommend she be removed from all boards she was appointed to by the council until she is up for reelection in 2013.
If the full council votes to accept the panel’s recommendation, it would be effective immediately.
Pat Campbell added that citizens should “stay tuned” and follow her for when she is up for reelection, as he felt that her conduct is not a matter for recall.
The panel hopes to wrap it up at the October 11 council meeting.
The Columbian’s Andrea Damewood published her take HERE with more to come in Friday’s paper.
KGW TV adds quotes from citizens present.
“They’re going to smack her on the hand, she’s going to turn around and walk away,” said Stephanie Turlay. “They will not stand up and do what really needs to be done.”
“She needs to go,” said Josephine Wentzel. “If she doesn’t resign she needs to be taken out, we need to recall her.”