July 11, 2018
CHARLES COUNTY ETHICS COMMISSION
Government Building Conference Room
July 11, 2018
Stephen Fitzgerald, Esquire, Vice Chairman
Henry Collins, Jr.
OTHERS PRESENT: Rhonda Weaver, County Attorney, Counsel to the Commission, Melody Weschler, Clerk to the Commission.
CALL TO ORDER FOR SESSION:
The meeting was called to order by Vice Chairman Fitzgerald at 5:33 p.m.
Ms. Elliott advised the Commission that she had completed the Open Meetings Act training and provided a copy of her certificate to the Clerk.
Election of Officers:
The Clerk provided the members of the Commission with a ballot containing the names of the members who wished to run for chairman and vice chairman. Ms. Elliott and Mr. Collins wished to run for chairman and Mr. Fitzgerald for vice chairman. The Clerk counted the ballot and the results were:
Chairman – Mr. Collins
Vice chairman – Mr. Fitzgerald.
A motion was made by Mr. Fitzgerald to approve the June 6, 2018 open meeting minutes with the changes as noted, seconded by Mr. Collins, motion carried.
Financial Disclosure Forms:
The Commission reviewed corrected financial forms and new forms received since the last meeting.
The Clerk provided the Commission with a financial disclosure form where the board member did not feel he needed to make the corrections noted by the Commission. Ms. Weaver advised the Commission that if the Commission deferred this to another meeting she would look into the matter and advised the Board. The Commission agreed to defer the matter to another meeting.
Ms. Weaver advised the Board that she had received communication from the State Board of Elections regarding an inquiry regarding unethical use of County funds. Ms. Weaver stated she was unclear on the status of this inquiry and is awaiting clarification from the State Board of Elections and will advise the Commission at next week’s meeting of the status.
Advisory Opinion 2018-03 – The Ethics Commission received a referral from the County Attorney’s Office regarding an inquiry as to whether town hall meetings being held prior to the primary election by a specific Commissioner are being used as a campaign event at taxpayers’ expense and an inappropriate use of county funds. Ms. Weaver provided the Commission with the information received from the inquirer, information from the Media Department providing the cost of the materials used in the promotion of the town hall meetings used by both the County Government and the campaign office, paid for by the County Government. The Commission asked questions regarding email address from which the campaign sent the information; where the posters were located and what did they say; if the documents appeared on BoardDocs; did the documents appear on the County website; the date the material was given to the Commissioners’ Office, what is the County’s policy on requesting media submissions and services provided by the Media Office.
Ms. Weaver suggested that the matter be deferred to the next meeting to enable her to collect the information requested. The Commission unanimously agreed to continue the matter until next week, Wednesday, July 18 at 5:30 p.m.
A motion was made by Ms. Cotton to go into closed session, seconded by Mr. Fitzgerald, unanimously carried. The Commission went into closed session at 6:29 p.m. in accordance with General Provisions Article §3-305(b) to discuss: (1) The appointment, employment, assignment, promotion, discipline, demotion, compensation, removal, resignation, or performance evaluation of appointees, employees, or officials over whom this public body has jurisdiction; or any other personnel matter that affects one or more specific.
At 6:35 p.m. a motion was made by Mr. Fitzgerald to go back into open session, seconded by Ms. Elliott, unanimously carried.
ADJOURNMENT: With no further business Mr. Fitzgerald made motion to adjourn the meeting at 6:35 p.m., seconded by Mrs. Elliott, all in favor. The next meeting will be July 18, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.
Melody Weschler, Clerk