Henderson, NV – In a contentious session on Tuesday night, the Henderson City Council voted 4-1 to adopt a new governance policy, drawing both support and criticism from council members, notably Councilwoman Carrie Cox.
The governance policy, aimed at outlining rules and limitations for elected officials, covers a spectrum of areas, including their roles in city functions, interactions with the media, and conduct during council meetings. City Clerk Jose Luis Valdez clarified that the policy does not alter any city government operations but rather serves to memorialize the rules and operations for future elected officials, responding to recent changes in ward-only voting for city representatives.
Cox, however, expressed strong reservations, asserting that the policy would disenfranchise voters and violate members’ First Amendment rights. She argued that the document, costing $24,000 to create, duplicates existing governance structures, calling it a “solution in search of a problem.”
“This document represents a solution in search of a problem. If passed, this will become a codified policy to enforce an undefined or ill-defined standard,” Cox stated during the meeting.
Cox contended that the policy requires constituents to go through the chief of staff before engaging with a council member, which she deemed a disenfranchisement of voters. Mayor Michelle Romero responded to Cox’s criticisms, emphasizing that the policy is not intended to stifle communication with residents but rather ensures a balanced consideration of issues brought before the council.
“In no way, shape, or form is this meant to stifle any communication with our residents,” Mayor Romero asserted.
The policy encourages council members to engage with constituents at nonprofit and community events, along with city-organized outreach events. While it doesn’t explicitly forbid discussing complaints with constituents, it directs council members to direct complaints promptly to the Chief of Staff, who will handle responses, staff engagement, and communication until the matter is resolved.
Councilwoman Cox also accused the city of withholding the document from the public until now, alleging an attempt to avoid potential backlash or interference. The city rejected a request for the policy draft on October 31, citing its drafting stage, and only delivered it on Thursday.
Repercussions for violating the policy vary, ranging from private meetings between council members to potential legal action, depending on the duration and severity of the violations. The adoption of this governance policy marks a significant development in Henderson’s local governance structure, despite the dissenting voice of Councilwoman Carrie Cox.
Credits: Review Journal
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