Current and future Elk Grove City Council members can face censure or formal disapproval from the Council for offensive acts under a new policy that was approved on Jan. 27.

The Council lacked such a procedure last summer when they considered censuring then-Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly over allegations that his associates or supporters harassed several local women, including his mayoral election opponent Bobbie Singh-Allen.

She, along with fellow accusers such as Elk Grove School Trustee Nancy Chaires Espinoza and Cosumnes Community Services District Director Jaclyn Moreno, held a press conference and called upon the City Council to censure the mayor.

Ly denied the allegations, and the City Council on Aug. 12 voted to request a Sacramento County Grand Jury investigation of those claims. They also asked the city staff to create a censure policy.

A council censure is an “expression of disapproval by the City Council, but it shall carry no additional penalty or fine imposed by the City Council,” according to the city staff’s proposed censure policy.

Under this procedure, two Council Members can request the city clerk to schedule a censure hearing regarding the mayor or a fellow Council member at a future meeting. The Council can then decide to vote for a censure, terminate the proceedings, or begin an investigation of the allegations.

If an investigation is requested, then two Council members can form an ad hoc committee that investigates the allegations and reports their findings to the Council before they decide whether to censure the defendant or not.

During the Council’s Jan. 27 meeting, Elk Grove City Attorney Jon Hobbs told Vice Mayor Stephanie Nguyen that this procedure is similar to the one practiced by the city of Stockton.

After a short deliberation, the Council unanimously approved the censure policy.

“It’s good to have such a policy, not only for current council members but future council (members) that come after us,” Singh-Allen said. “It’s good to have these measures in place.”