Wausau city council members are considering a code of conduct for elected officials that would outline rules for behavior as well as potential consequences for violating those rules.

City Attorney Anne Jacobson is tweaking the language in the proposed code, which was first presented to the council this month. While council members debated the language in the code, Mayor Robert Mielke suggested that the city should be allowed to take legal action against citizens who make false complaints against elected officials. That suggestion, which has been hotly debated on social media, is unlikely to be incorporated into the new code, officials say.

Mielke was at the center of an unsubstantiated ethics complaint in 2016 that took months to resolve, after then-Alderman Keene Winters accused Mielke of misconduct in office. Mielke was president of the city council and running for mayor at that time.

The draft code of conduct calls for city officials who take civil action against false critics do so at their own expense, rather than the city’s. The rules are expected to be reviewed by the full council again in January.