Michael J. Sorba, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/12/2010 02:41:40 PM PST

COLTON – City councilmembers will be barred from criticizing each other in public or responding to citizen complaints during council meetings, under provisions of a new ethics policy set to be considered this month.

The document details conduct for the council and lists specific best practices it would be expected to follow when conducting city business or attending meetings.

“I think for the most part the policy is a very good policy,” Mayor Kelly Chastain said.

The council is set to consider the policy during a goal-setting session Feb. 20 at Summit Career College.

In addition to ending criticism among elected officials, councilmembers would only be allowed to address citizens’ concerns at meetings if the mayor gives permission.

“Council should not attempt to fix citizens’ problems on their own; it will be referred to the city manager,” the proposed ethics code states.

Councilman David Toro said the concept of a code of ethics originated with his request to establish penalties for council members who abuse their power.

Toro defeated former Councilman Ramon Hernandez in the 2006 election for the District 1 council seat.

Hernandez was sentenced to six months in jail and five years probation after pleading guilty in January 2008 to 24 felony counts for charging about $5,500 on his city-issued credit card for calls to telephone sex lines and unauthorized motel stays.

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