Elk Grove City Council Members Involved in Heated Argument over Proposed Ethics Investigation

Cooper to city attorney: You gave bad advice 8:00 PM An ethics violation investigation proposed by Elk Grove Council Member Jim Coope...

Cooper to city attorney: You gave bad advice

8:00 PM

An ethics violation investigation proposed by Elk Grove Council Member Jim Cooper erupted into a contentious verbal exchange between Elk Grove City Council members.

During the discussion on future agenda items Cooper urged the formation of two-member committee to investigate an ethics complaint over an unspecified council member. Cooper did not say what the specifics of the investigation would cover.

Although Cooper did not say what the violation was, he indicated it was a serious matter. "I think everybody needs to be held accountable," he said.

Council member Gary Davis said he would support having the item discussed, but was not inclined to having an investigation because the city's code of ethics is voluntary. "I am really torn," Davis said.

Cooper retorted that while he realized it is voluntary, certain charges are serious enough to warrant investigation. "Certain things rise to a certain level. It is something that has to be addressed," Cooper asserted.

Mayor Sophia Scherman objected to the proposed investigation saying it was not needed. "I will not sit in judgement of my fellow council members," Schermam said.

Council member Pat Hume asked Cooper what the purpose of the investigation was. Cooper reiterated that it was a serious matter.

At one point Cooper and Hume were in a heated verbal exchange when Hume said the investigation was politically motivated. Neither cited specifics on the matter. 

Davis reiterated that the code was voluntary and he felt that public was more interested in the council moving forward on things important to them. Davis said their purpose was "not to play kindergarten cop."

Cooper quickly interjected as he had repeatedly done during the conversation that the matter in question had risen to level of importance that an investigation was warranted.

Citing his long law enforcement career, Cooper said it was a serious matter. "If I didn't think this is serious, I wouldn't bring it up," he asserted.

Council member Steve Detrick who was subjected to an ethics violation that was initiated by Scherman earlier this year said he would support the formation of a committee to investigate the matter.

"When you do nothing it looks like your trying to hide something," Detrick said.

Detrick went on to say that Scherman initiated the investigation that was conducted on him and failure to investigate the matter brought forward by Cooper is a double standard.

A clearly flustered Scherman said the action would be like "scolding a child" and that "it would be a waste of time."

Scherman went on to say she authorized the investigation into Detrick's ethics complaint was based on the advice of Elk Grove City Attorney Susan Cochran.

Cooper asserted that the investigation never had the complete approval of the city council and should not have taken place without it. "It was bad legal advice," Cooper said of Cochran's advise to Scherman.

Hume also plead against placing the formation of a committee as a future agenda discussion item. "It is not worth agendizing," Hume said.

Cooper, Davis and Detrick agreed to place the matter on a future agenda. Hume and Scherman opposed it.


A video of the exchange will be posted when made available.

Post a Comment Default Comments


Dannetta G. said...


I appreciate your reporting on this issue, having watched it live, I know you did just that, report exactly what occurred and regardless of how this issue will shake out, I leave with this message:

"We are who we defend, who we protect and who we stand up for..."

I sense that Council Member Cooper, whatever the issue is, has chosen to stand up and if he is correct in his view, it will be a testament to his leadership.

I wait to hear the rest of the story, unencumbered by rumors and innuendos but by solid and unobstructed truth…, the only defense there is!

Dannetta Garcia
Promoting Ethics and Responsible Leadership

Sarah Johnson said...

Plain and simple, there is indeed a double standard at work here when Scherman can single handedly sign a contract to hire an investigator to investigate Detrick , spending $5,000 of our money, and then give a feeble argument against following the same course in this case. It's politics at its worst!
Remember that Scherman's excuse in the Detrick case was that she didn't want to be accused of not doing anything in light of the complaint against Detrick.
The City Attorney's advise aside, Scherman forgot that she did not have the authority to act without consensus from the rest of the Council.
She signed the contract, spent our money, and has not been held accountable for that misdeed. Perhaps she should be investigated!

Josie said...

Very disturbing, to say the least. No truer words were spoken Ms. Garcia....

Phillip Stark said...

I don't share Ms. Garcia's trust in Mr. Cooper's motives - but I do agree there's something amiss that needs attention.

James said...

Where is the Beef?

Why wouldn't Cooper say who or what this allegation was about?

When Detrick was accused, whether is was correct or not, his accusers came to the dias and laid out their allegations for everyone to see.

I think it was correctly stated, and agreed by Cooper that this is all political. The Council Majority, Cooper, Davis and Detrick, want to embarass one of the other two with this political stunt. If neither Davis or Detrick are willing to vote to form this committee then why did they vote to agendize a vote to form a committee except to embarass the council member that will not be allowed to participate in the discussion?

Malleus Codex said...

Only to discuss the appointment, employment,
performance evaluation, discipline, complaints
about or dismissal of a specific employee or potential
employee (§ 54957). The employee may
request a public meeting on any charges or complaints.
But closed sessions are NOT ALLOWED for discussing:
• general employment
• independent contractors not functioning as
• salaries
• the performance of any elected official, or
member of the board
• the local agency’s available funds
• funding priorities or budget

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