Ethics complaint against Cano dismissed

City Council member will face no discipline for controversial Twitter posts

An ethics complaint against Ward 9 City Council Member Alondra Cano was dismissed by her colleagues in October.
An ethics complaint against Ward 9 City Council Member Alondra Cano was dismissed by her colleagues in October.

The City Council on Oct. 7 voted to dismiss an ethics complaint against Council Member Alondra Cano, who faced criticism for “doxing” several constituents who disagreed with her participation in a December 2015 Black Lives Matter protest by posting their names, email address and phone numbers on Twitter.

A resolution approved unanimously by the 13 members of the Council stated that Cano “violated the ethical aspirations but not the substantive rules of the Ethics in Government Ordinance.” The dismissal means Cano will not face any disciplinary action and that the complaint remains private under state data practices law, Assistant City Attorney Susan Trammell said.

“The resolution remains a matter of public record, but you cannot discuss the complaint,” Trammell told Council members.

Offered a chance to speak on the matter during Friday’s meeting by Council President Barbara Johnson, Cano, who represents South Minneapolis’ Ward 9, declined.

In September, an email Cano sent Johnson was leaked to the press, offering details of the conversations that have gone on behind closed doors since ethics complaints were filed against Cano more than nine months ago. In the email, Cano said she disagreed with the findings of the city’s Ethical Practices Board and threatened to release evidence of other Council members violating ethics rules if the Council voted to uphold the board’s findings.

“I would not expect something like that from an elected official,” said Ward 5 City Council Member Blong Yang, the only member of the Council to offer a comment on the matter Friday.

Yang said Cano’s actions in December would have consequences.

“When you do that, you lose the faith that people have in government,” he said. “I think what was most egregious about this whole thing is that there just was no remorse.”

Yang added a moment later: “Even if we as a council body don’t impose discipline, I would hope that the good folks in Ward 9 would take care of it next year.”

He was apparently referring to the 2017 city elections.

According to the text of the resolution, the city received an unspecified number of complaints between Dec. 23, 2015, and Jan. 11 of this year “regarding Council Member Cano’s Dec. 23 posting of constituent contact information obtained from the City’s Constituent Relationship Management System.”

Those complaints were reviewed by the city’s Ethical Practices Board, which in August met in closed session with Council members to discuss the complaint. The Ethical Practices Board is a three-member committee made up of the Chief Judge of Hennepin County District Court and the deans of both the University of Minnesota and University of St. Thomas law schools.

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