Argyle Town Council members took no action concerning drafting a code of conduct for town elected and appointed officials during an April meeting. The ball is in council’s court to decide what happens next, Town Administrator Erika McComis said in an email.

The matter was previously tabled from a March 18 council meeting with council asking for more time to review the policy and provide feedback on requested amendments.

“The item will not be brought back to council until they provide further guidance and information as to what amendments they want to see,” McComis said.

The background

A council agenda memo states the code of conduct has been developed to ensure leaders’ actions and behaviors “align with the values, ethics and principles that define our organization. By adhering to this code, we aim to foster a positive and ethical working environment, reinforcing our commitment to the public interest and the highest standards of conduct.”

The details

At the April 15 meeting, council member Cynthia Hermann said she had some concerns about certain aspects about the code, such as compliance and enforcement, but was supportive of other components. Town counsel Brenda McDonald then offered some clarity.

“This is written to be self-policing, so that you all would call each other on the carpet if you feel like something is going wrong,” she said, adding that in this code there is no procedure for a public hearing or notice.

Hermann suggested council give the code more deliberation, and she received some support for her suggestion, and council opted to take no action.

The agenda memo further stated it was important to town leaders that feedback was gathered from all boards and commissions, and include such input within the completed document.

Zooming in

McComis said the code serves as the town’s guiding light, ensuring every board and commission member shines in their role during meetings, and that by adhering to these principles, “We uphold decorum, foster respect for the meeting process and honor each other as valued members of the team.”

Other cities and towns have rules of decorum, codes of conduct or code of ethics within their policies or code of ordinances, she said.

McComis said adherence to the code of conduct is integral to the fulfillment of members' responsibilities within and beyond meetings, especially in discussions or dealings pertaining to town affairs.