By KAREN VELIE
Three members of the Arroyo Grande City Council demanded Mayor Jim Hill take one-on-one ethics training classes, two of whom are out of compliance with their legal obligation to take ethics classes every two years.
The California Government Code requires that elected officials take training in ethics on issues such as conflicts of interest, bribery, transparency and fair process at least every two years, according to the Government Code. These classes are required to be taken within one year of their first day of service.
A Cal Coast Times investigation into the Arroyo Grande City Council found that both council members Barbara Harmon and Kristen Barneich have not taken ethics training within the past two years and are in violation of Government Code 53235.
While Council Member Caren Ray is currently in compliance with the Government Code, she has been out of compliance in the past and has not taken an ethics training course since Jan. 13, 2013, according to records from the City of Arroyo Grande and San Luis Obispo County.
Following a contested investigation into allegations of misconduct by Hill, Ray made a motion asking that Hill be asked to take one-on-one ethics training.
“Good governance is following policy or following protocol,”Ray said during the Sept. 12, AG City Council meeting. “I want to ask the mayor to do one-on-one training.”
Ray, Barneich and Harmon voted in favor of Ray’s motion, with Hill and Councilman Tim Brown dissented. Hill is the only sitting Arroyo Grande City Council member who has taken ethics training every year while in office and who has not been out of compliance with Government Code 53235.