PEKIN — The Pekin City Council will discuss a recent investigation into possible violations of the city’s Council Code of Conduct.
The meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Pekin Municipal Building, 111 S. Capitol St.
The investigation has been completed and was handled by Mayor Pro Tem Lloyd Orrick. He did not return calls for comment.
Mayor John McCabe said Tuesday the investigation was the result of emails obtained by a Pekin resident under the Freedom of Information Act, specifically emails from Councilman Rusty Dunn about Councilman Tim Golden.
“Someone in the community thought there was something inappropriate in these emails, and so they sent them to certain Council members, even though I’ve never seen them,” said McCabe. “One Council member thought there was a code of conduct violation.
“Six or seven of the emails were sent to me by another Council member, probably a year ago or longer. I stayed out of it because even though I didn’t send these emails, I did get some of the emails. ... The City Attorney (Burt Dancey) reviewed the emails, went through the code and said in his opinion there were no violations of the code of conduct. Mayor Pro Tem (Orrick) reviewed them and said in his opinion there was no violation.”
McCabe said some Council members felt Orricks’s decision was not good enough. In all, there were 2,300 pages of emails in the FOIA.
This is not the first Council code of conduct investigation Orrick has conducted.
Orrick in October 2016 found cause for the censure of McCabe after McCabe called Councilman Mark Luft’s boss regarding his behavior during Council meetings.
Councilman Tim Golden was censured in September 2016 for five counts, one which included derogatory comments in a public meeting regarding the Pekin Planning Commission and city employees.
Two of the emails in question in this investigation were sent by Councilman Rusty Dunn concerning Councilman Tim Golden. Excerpts include:
• “He is not a nice person, will not change, he is not that smart ... so I am going to do my best to keep him off to the side and ignore him (until I have great excuse to tear into him). Do not forget that it is a very small number of people who actually support him. The vast majority of the community do not know him, care about him or believe him to be nuts.” (Aug. 28, 2015)
• “I don’t think it will take (Pekin Hospital President) Bob (Haley) long to provide a five minute verbal no slides update on the project. The biggest thing will be for him to prepare as best he can for Golden’s barrage of stupid/offensive questions.” (June 15, 2016)
McCabe said the emails were not meant to be disseminated beyond the people they were addressed to, which means the email was not intended to insult Golden publicly. The email was for a private audience.
“If you take a look at what happened with Council member Golden, he made comments about city staff out in the public,” said McCabe. “He sent emails out in the public with regards to city employees not in a private email to one or two people.”
Councils have been warned for many years about writing anything in an email or text that they don’t want read by others because they are available to the public under FOIA.
McCabe said that is information Council members have been provided with.
Dunn said he will be unable to attend the meeting, but a statement by him will be read. His last day as a Councilman will be May 8, as he did not seek re-election.