Hillsboro City Council’s Employee Relations Committee voted 2-1 Monday evening to recommend to council a resolution outlining city council’s expectations for the behavior of public officials and employees.
While chairman Bill Alexander and committee member Rebecca Wilkin voted in favor of the resolution, committee member Claudia Klein voted against it, saying she doesn’t feel it should be a resolution passed by council, but instead should be placed in the city’s civil service manual, which is currently being revised.
A previous, more explicit draft of a resolution was directed at Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings for his social media posts, which some said were racist and offensive.
The milder resolution presented Monday, a copy of which was given to The Times-Gazette by Alexander, does not mention Hastings by name, but says city officials, “through the leadership of the mayor must set the example and tone for demonstrating respect and integrity.”
The resolution states it is a response to “public comments at council meetings and committee meetings regarding social media posts,” and “Hillsboro City Council wants to go on public record setting high value on civil public discourse.”
The resolution “calls on all employees and elected officials of the city to serve the public, and to serve with one another, in harmony, kindness, generosity and respect,” and expresses an expectation that elected officials and city employees behave professionally on social media and in person, avoiding “coarse and abusive language.”
Jaymara Captain and Ariana Jackson, both of whom have been outspoken against Hastings’ demeanor in person and on social media, spoke during the committee meeting, as did Cody Mathews, a local teacher who said he feels Hastings’ social media posts are inappropriate.
Captain said she was disappointed that more time hadn’t been alotted for the meeting, and read a number of Hastings’ social media posts aloud, adding that city council has allowed Hastings to “continuously run this city into the ground,” with his behavior and comments.
Of the resolution, Captain said, “This was a long time overdue.”
Mathews said Hastings as a representative of the city shouldn’t make inflammatory social media posts, and said a number of his students have approached him with tough questions on the matter.
“The things that are being said, if your kids said them, how would you feel?” he said. Mathews said he would be held responsible if he made inappropriate comments as a teacher.
Jackson, a local minister, again criticized Hastings for his behavior and council members who have not publicly disagreed with his statements. She urged committee members and council as a whole to vote in favor of the resolution, saying that Hastings has attacked minorities. She said that as an African-American, she finds Hastings’ statements offensive.
“Walk in our shoes,” she said. “Be that person for a day. It’s hard.”
Council president Lee Koogler said council will consider the resolution at its next full meeting.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.
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