Langley’s ethics training and advisory board found that an illegal quorum committed by three members of the Langley City Council was unintentional but that they failed to immediately seek a means to resolve the situation.
The ethics board’s advisory opinion was approved by the city council at its March 6 meeting. The report said that Councilmembers Bruce Allen, Rene Neff and Ursula Shoudy overlooked the possibility that their combined attendance at a non-city sponsored sanctuary city meeting on Feb. 9 at Langley United Methodist Church “could be perceived as an illegal quorum.”
“Ethically speaking, in matters where the trust of city residents and the perception of impartiality must be maintained, council members are encouraged to act so as to avoid even the perception of impropriety and/or favoritism in order to uphold the integrity of the city,” according to an ethics board document. “Their combined attendance and, hence, quorum at the public meeting appears to have been unintentional; and their desire to hear out their constituency is admirable.”
The report also noted that Allen was conscious of the council quorum and did take leave of the meeting about one hour into the meeting.
Police Chief David Marks filed an official complaint via email to Mayor Tim Callison following the Feb. 9 meeting. Callison later asked the city’s ethics board to look into the incident and warned that a violation could result in a $500 fine under state statute.
In his complaint, Marks pointed out that Councilwoman Rene Neff participated in a non-city sponsored sanctuary city meeting. Neff was asked to speak at the meeting by organizers of the event. The ethics committee found that no ethical impropriety was committed by Neff because the quorum had disbursed after Allen left.