We have the code of conduct fo a reason. It’s to lower the temperature, ensure decorum and make sure the city’s business is properly executed. When Commissioner Kevin Cannon incited residents to take action against their neighbors and stormed out of the commission meeting right before his attempt to eliminate our right to vote for our Mayor embarrassingly went up in flames, we thought this has to be a violation of the rules, right?
As it turns out, Commissioner Kevin Cannon violated the City Charter Code on six counts during his over three minute rant. We outlined each violation by citing the exact language of the charter and Mr. Cannon’s actions, which were all on the record in a public meeting.
We also emailed each of the commissioners outlining the transgressions and asking them to restore order and decorum to the commission meetings by enforcing their own rules. Not a single commissioner has acknowledge receipt of the email.
“The mayor and city commissioners will refrain from intimidation and ridicule of…citizens of the city” 2-29 (4).
- Cannon ridiculed us, describing our association as spreading false information, attacking the city and its employees and called our motives into question. In the same meeting we were portrayed as an “evil” force which must be fought against, which is ruining the city. Ridiculing citizens is against the code 2-29 (4).
“All disagreements, concerns or criticisms shall be framed in language that is in keeping with the dignity and professionalism of an elected official and the honor of serving as an elected representative of the city” 2-29 (5)
- Commissioners must handle differences and criticisms with the dignity and professionalism, maintaining the sense of honor that comes with serving as an elected representative of the city. In the face of criticism, Mr. Cannon ran away from his status as an honorable commissioner, abdicated his responsibility to sit in the seat he was elected to sit in, circumvented the agenda for the meeting and tried to speak as a citizen only, cited historical examples of warfare in calling the commissioners and other residents to take action against fellow citizens. By framing the disagreement in the language of warfare and not dignity or professionalism, he violated 2-29 (5).
“The mayor and city commissioners will focus on solving problems, and in doing so will maintain appropriate decorum, and professional demeanor in the conduct of city business and work cooperatively and conscientiously with others as they…weigh alternatives in the decision-making process” 2-29 (6)
- Mr. Cannon’s behavior can be described as anything other than cooperative and conscientious as we have presented alternatives to the decision-making process. Leaving his seat, circumventing the agenda by speaking during public input and storming out of the room in protest is not appropriate decorum or professional demeanor.
“As much as possible, the mayor and each member of the city commission will be in attendance at such meetings and all other scheduled events where their official participation is required” 2-29 (8)
- Commissioners are responsible to show up to work. They must be in attendance “as much as possible.” There is no doubt it was possible for Mr. Cannon to be in attendance, since he was in attendance at the beginning of the meeting. His official participation is needed at the commission meetings and he neglected to be in attendance for most of the business items and discussion on the agenda. Refusing to officially participate as a commissioner and leaving the meeting is a violation of 2-29 (8).
“The mayor and city commissioners will respect diversity and encourage the open expression of divergent ideas and opinions…they will listen actively and objectively to others’ concerns or constructive criticisms” 2-29 (9)
- Commissioner Cannon has never listened actively and objectively to our criticisms, as required by the code of conduct. Instead, he has repeatedly and publicly maligned us and our Association, called our integrity, truthfulness and honesty into question, and incited fellow commissioners, the city attorney and city residents in attendance to “do something” against other city residents.
Certain remarks prohibited: “disparaging language, fighting words, or slanderous remarks are strictly prohibited at the city commission meetings” 2-28 (f)
- Commissioner Cannon’s accusations that we are attacking the city, and the implication that we have impure intentions for our advocacy, is disparaging and slanderous, and his attempts to rally the city to “do something” to fight back against certainly qualifies as “fighting words.” By using inciting language and fighting words, he violated section 2-28 (f).