EDITORIAL | Board creation was the right, ethical choice

The right decision isn’t always clear. The road can be fogged with circumstance and variables that make things seem more complicated, or more simple, than they really are.

That’s why the Langley City Council’s vote to reinstate a standing ethics board earlier this month was so important. City leaders such as the mayor, who oversees employees at City Hall, should not be tasked with vetting claims of improper or dishonest action against himself or his staff. That job is best left to a third-party group not involved in the daily affairs of Langley government.

The council took steps over the past year to help city leaders make sound choices by commissioning the creation of an ethics guide. Though one would think city leaders wouldn’t need to consult such a document to make honest decisions, memorializing a code of conduct is useful. A citizen board will likely do far more for accountability, however, and the council shied from this more effective instrument, only to reverse its decision at the last moment when faced with objections from members of the very group that penned the ethics guide.

The reasons behind the council’s indecision are incidental. Rather, the situation and its result is the embodiment of why a citizen board is needed.

Divorcing city leaders from the responsibility of having to judge their colleagues, or even themselves, by having the issue vetted first by a group of trusted community volunteers is simply the right decision.

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