The Cherokee City Council adopted a code of conduct for members of the Cherokee City Council. The code adopted at the July 8th meeting was created from standard wording used by other towns.
Wally Miller, Jr., city attorney, referred to the 11-page document as "mostly common sense stuff."
Linda Burkhart, council member, stated that besides common sense rules, there is clarification on matters that may need explained for members of the council.
Greg Stieneke, council member, questioned one aspect of the code that prohibits council members from criticizing a city staff member to the general public.
Stieneke asked whether commenting on the fact that things are not done would be considered a violation of the code. He said that citizens sometimes make complaints and then ask later why nothing has been done.
Stieneke added that many people have complained that the city goes after improperly maintained property as public nuisances but then does not take care of its own property. "It's taken two years to get one lousy tree cleaned up," Stieneke said.
Stieneke had also criticized the council and mayor in his written resignation from a safety committee, submitted at the June 24 city council meeting (see sidebar article, "Resignation letter"),
Pam Pierce, mayor, said that the code of ethics attempts to establish a chain of command for the city council to follow. She said that there is a problem right now with the chain of command because the city manager position remains vacant.
Pierce also noted that not all council members or staff members may share an individual council member's sense of priorities. Priority setting is also a function that should be overseen by a city manager, according to Pierce.
Pierce told Stieneke that she would be willing to discuss any concerns he had privately.
The council approved an increase in mileage reimbursement from 50.5 cents per mile to 58.5 cents per mile. In most years, the mileage rate is changed at the start of the calendar year but an adjustment was deemed necessary because of the dramatic increase in fuel cost.
The council authorized the closing the first block of East Main Street on Thursday, July 17, for the Ag Day celebration.
Jan Bowles, account manager for Alliant Energy, gave the annual report for the natural gas service. She noted that the company responded to 50 emergency calls during the year.
Besides providing employment for workers based in the Cherokee office and paying property tax, the company donated $4,358 to community betterment projects.
In the previous year, the company had donated $8,000 to the Bacon Aquatic Center project. Bowles noted that the most that Alliant Energy has ever donated to a single project anywhere is $10,000.