Brookhaven has adopted guidelines for how city officials should behave when interacting with each other and the public.
At a June 15 Brookhaven City Council meeting, the council approved a resolution outlining “conduct and decorum” guidelines for all elected and appointed city officials.
“This policy strikes an important balance between reaffirming the inherent constitutional rights of freedom of speech is assured among council members, regardless of their position on any issue, while providing a basis for respectful dissent between members when a consensus is not possible,” said Councilmember Joe Gebbia, who wrote and sponsored the resolution.
The resolution offers guidelines for how city officials should interact with each other, the public at large, and city staff. In interactions with each other, officials are asked to be civil in discussions and debate, avoid offensive personal comments, and respect the position of the chair of the committee or group in question.
When interacting with the public in meetings, city officials are asked to allocate equal time to those who wish to speak, maintain an open mind and listen actively. City officials are allowed to ask for clarification from speakers, but not to argue or debate with the public. They are also asked to not make partisan public statements on national or state issues that do not “directly affect the city of Brookhaven.”
When interacting with city staff, city officials are asked to never publicly criticize any employee and to try not to influence staff when it comes to awarding contracts, permits, or any other administrative duties.
The resolution also gives guidelines for how the City Council should interact with boards and commissions. When attending other city meetings, council members are asked to only express personal views, and to be careful not to speak for the entire council.
A spokesperson for the city of Brookhaven did not respond to questions about how this resolution would be enforced in time for publication.
The resolution in its entirety can be read on the city’s website.