ROCKLAND — Brian Harden said he sees nothing wrong in Mayor Ed Glaser writing a letter to the editor in support of a Council candidate.

Harden has a unique perspective on the issue, having served on the Charter Commission that worked for more than a year on revisions to Rockland’s basic governing document and subsequent ordinances. Harden is one of two remaining members of the Charter Commission that was elected by residents in 1974.

Harden would go on to serve on the City Council for three consecutive terms and served as mayor on two occasions. The only other living member of that Charter Commission is Larry Frier who had been a local attorney, Harden said.

Harden said he recalls discussions on the need for a code of ethics which was later adopted by the City Council as an ordinance. He said there was no particular controversy that led the Charter Commission to call for a code of ethics but that members felt it was needed for good government. The code of ethics was patterned after state law which is referenced in the ordinance, he noted.

The Charter Commission submitted its recommendations to the City Council which revised some of the proposals and ultimately placed it on the ballot for voters to approve. The ordinance on the code of ethics was voted on later by the Council.

Harden said his opinion is that Glaser’s letter to the editor in support of candidate Nate Davis does not violate the ordinance based on the intent of the Commission.

“You are a citizen and can support and campaign for a candidate,” Harden said.

What you can’t do, he said, is use the mayor’s post during a meeting or official function to campaign for someone. That is not what occurred in this current instance, he said.

Harden said there have been instances in the past when sitting councilors have supported candidates for the Council and he did not consider any of those to violate the code of ethics ordinance since they did not do it during meetings.

At issue is a letter that Mayor Ed Glaser wrote last week endorsing Councilor Nate Davis for re-election to the City Council. The letter praised all four candidates seeking a pair of Council seats, but ended up endorsing Davis.

“This year, we are fortunate to have four really good city council candidates to choose from, and all of them would serve the city well. But, I do want to make one recommendation,” the letter stated.

“I have served the last three years with Nate Davis, and re-electing him to the city council would be good for Rockland. He is probably the smartest person to serve on the council in many years, and immediately grasps all sides of an issue. He listens better than most, has a vision for a better Rockland (that includes all of us) and at least as importantly he has a good heart. Being a good councilor requires balancing competing interests and ideas, and from my experience, Councilor Davis excels at that.

“Happily this year, we don’t have to pick ‘the least worst’ candidate, we can pick the best — ‘Nate is great,’” Glaser concluded in his letter, which is signed simply Ed Glaser.

The ordinance in question states, “No City Councilor shall participate in any political activity which would be in conflict or incompatible with the performance of his or her official functions and duties for the city. In conjunction therewith: No City Councilor may use his official authority or position for the purpose of influencing or interfering or affecting the results of any election, nor shall he solicit any funds or contributions or accept or receive funds or contributions from City employees for political purposes. No City Councilor may distribute pamphlets or handbills while he or she is performing their official functions and duties with the City. Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit any City Councilor from participating in the political process in their capacity as private citizens.”