LETTER | Clarification regarding Proposed Code of Ethics

Dear Editor:


As chair of the Kirkland Ethics Task Force, I can tell you that Councilmember Sternoff supported the establishment of an ethics and conduct code throughout the process. While his personal use of his city email account was inappropriate, the investigation determined that he didn’t violate any city or state laws. He apologized sincerely, immediately, publicly, in writing and in a council meeting. He did not ask the city to withhold the content of any of his emails, although under the "Tiberino" case he could have asked for the content of many of them to be redacted by the city as being private and not pertaining to the conduct of government. The matter was thoroughly investigated, and the city council, without Councilmember Sternoff present, voted unanimously that there was no reason to pursue the matter further.


The proposed Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct does, in fact, address the circumstances of this matter. It states unequivocally that use of public resources for personal purposes is an ethics violation. It says that the conduct of officials must be above reproach and avoid even the appearance of impropriety, and that they must refrain from abusive conduct, threats, personal accusations and verbal attacks upon the character or motives of other members of Council, boards and commissions, the staff or public. It says that councilmembers must listen courteously and attentively to all public discussions and focus on the business at hand. The Ethics Task Force had this matter in mind when drafting these provisions.




Toby Nixon