It is my opinion that it is unethical for a government official to use his position or title to publicly endorse services, products and political candidates. Some might question and some might not, but I like to use the reasonable person test. If a reasonable person read the submitted letter to the editor, who would he say endorsed the candidate?
I do think that to ignore this act, it could be construed as being acceptable or tolerable. What I would like to see is that something positive comes out of this injustice and that would be to adopt a code of conduct and a code of ethics to strengthen the city’s position on acceptable and unacceptable behavior of its members. I would like to see them vote for and adopt the California Mountain View Ethics and Conduct Code. Why adopt the Mountain View template? Because it’s premier, comprehensive and self- defining.
Mountain View Code of Ethics addresses the following: 3.4.8 To the best of their ability, Council members shall represent the official policies and positions of the City Council. When presenting their personal opinions or positions publicly, members shall explicitly state they do not represent the Council or the City.
For every wrong there should be a right.
Gail Strid, Rhinelander
Editor’s note: Ms. Strid is referring to a previously published letter written by Rhinelander City Council members who endorsed a political candidate. She is also referring to the code of ethics adopted by the City of Mountain View, California.