Billings Council Dismisses Ethics Board
The Billings City Council repealed the city’s ethics ordinances and dismissed its Board of Ethics on Monday, opting instead for a system where the Yellowstone County Attorney’s office will evaluate ethics complaints. The Gazette reports that by a unanimous vote of 8-0 with Councilman Al Swanson abstaining, the city will adopt ethics standards and enforcement procedures already found in Montana statute. Council members Angela Cimmino and Chris Friedel were not in attendance.
The council’s action is similar to measures taken in large cities like Missoula, Kalispell, Helena and Great Falls. Cathy Grott, the newest member of the now defunct board, asked the council to consider leaving the board in place. Another board member said that if the Billings Ethics panel had received training on how to conduct their hearings, there wouldn't have been as many complaints in 2015.