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City commissioners adopt principles of conduct

By Grace Lovins

Birmingham city commissioners resolved the long-standing consideration about developing a Commissioner Code of Conduct at their meeting on Monday, August 28, by adopting a shorter Principles of Conduct.

Commissioners have discussed a code of conduct seven times during past meetings, never coming to an agreement about whether a code was needed and if so, what it should include. In honor of August being civility month, the commission was presented with a set of principles to guide their conduct, according to Melissa Fairburn, assistant city manager.

Fairburn consolidated the comments and suggestions from the commission's past discussions – between February of 2022 and June of 2023 – into a single-page document. The list contained five principles with short descriptions: Collaboration, Respectful Communication, Integrity, Professionalism and Ethical Conduct.

“This is indeed the short, succinct one-pager that I believe everyone requested,” said mayor Therese Longe.

Minor changes were made to the language of the draft at the request of commissioner Andrew Haig. aAter it was brought up in public comment, an additional line was added to guide present and future commissioners away from spreading misinformation .

With the minor changes and little discussion, the commission voted 5-0 to approve the new Principles of Conduct. Commissioners Peirre Boutros and Clinton Baller were absent from the meeting.


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