Fresno City Hall adopts new guidelines after leak

FRESNO, Calif.

Council members often hold closed sessions when dealing with contract negotiations and litigation in an effort to protect the city's interests. These meetings are held behind closed doors, away from the public eye.

"By law, nothing we say can get out of closed session, and we're dealing with some very sensitive issues, personnel issues, lawsuits," said council president, Clint Olivier.

But some of that classified information may have been leaked, in July of this year. The city attorney's office began investigating potential violations of confidentiality among council members.

The investigation concluded there was no specific evidence to hold anyone accountable, but there were inconsistencies. Private discussions were not kept private, and confidential information was not properly filed and destroyed.

"Some things came out of closed session that probably shouldn't be out of closed session, so we just wanted to make sure we had some procedures in place that made that very clear," said council member Larry Westerlund.

On Thursday morning, council members adopted a new code of conduct that puts safeguards in place. The amendment requires council members, and their chiefs of staff to sign a confidentiality agreement and destroy all classified documents no longer needed.

"I use my chief of staff so I can bounce ideas off, they are privy to that, they have those conversations already, but I think it's a good thing that the chief of staff understands how important it is," said council member Blong Xiong.

Council members say there was no negative impact to the city's operations as a result of the information that was leaked among staff members and these measures will prevent anything like this from happening.

Copyright © 2022 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.