Minutes - July 6, 2016
CHARLES COUNTY ETHICS COMMISSION
Charles County Attorney Conference Room
July 6, 2016
Rev. Robert Charles Buehler, Chairman
Stephen Fitzgerald, Esquire
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 Chairman Buehler at 5:05 p.m.
A motion was made by Mr. Purnell to go into closed session to discuss the closed meeting minutes of December 9, 2015, seconded by Mr. Collins, unanimously carried. The Commission went into closed session at 5:05 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 individuals.
At 5:12 p.m. a motion was made by Mr. Purnell to go back into open session for approval of the open meeting minutes of December 9, 2015, seconded by Mr. Collins, unanimously carried. Mr. Purnell pointed out one correction to the next to the last paragraph. The first Mr. Collins should be Mr. Fitzgerald. Mr. Fitzgerald made a motion to approve the open session minutes for December 9, 2015 after correction is made, seconded by Mr. Purnell, unanimously carried.
Advisory Opinion 2016-001:
The Commission was requested to provide an advisory opinion on the following:
Board and Commission members are often appointed because they are informed and interested citizen members of the community on issues which a board/commission must undertake.
We have been presented with the question of whether a member of a board/commission must recuse themselves from participating in a matter under consideration because either the appointee or a member of their immediate family (as defined by the Ethics Code) held an official position in an organization that has taken a public position on the matter before the board/commission prior to and/or during their tenure as an appointee.
As a second question, and for future guidance, under what circumstances should members of boards/commissions be required to recuse themselves from matters under consideration before them as board/commission members if they have had organized community involvement prior to their appointment as a board/commission member and now that organized group has taken a public position that is now before a board/commission.
The Commission discussed the questions and reviewed the sections of the Code pertinent to the information that is being sought. The Commission advised that a member of a board/commission must disclose any conflict as stated under §170-5 of the Code of Ethics. The member does not have to automatically recuse themselves. However, should the member of the board/commission be unsure if they should recuse themselves, they can request an opinion from the Commission. Should anyone find a potential conflict they have the right to file a complaint to the Ethics Commission. The Commission requested that Ms. Weaver, County Attorney, draft a response and provide it to the Commission at the next meeting.
The Commission reviewed the following Lobbyist Registration forms:
Philip Cronin/Wal-mart Stores, Inc.
Sean Malone/Wal-mart Stores, Inc.
Jennifer Hoehn/G.S. Proctor and Assoc./Wal-mart
Erik Hingst/G.S. Proctor and Assoc./Wal-mart
Gregory S. Proctor, Jr.,/G.S. Proctor and Assoc./Walton International Group, LLC
Walton Maryland LLC
Global Green Recycling, LLC
Kevin Kennedy, Esquire
Larry A. Gordon, Esquire
Shulman, Rogers et al/Walton Maryland, LLC
Walton Development and Management, Eat USA
Kevin Kennedy, Esquire
Larry A. Gordon, Esquire
William F. Gibson, II, Esquire
Shulman, Rogers, Gandal, Pordy, Ecker
Smith Pointe, LLC
Pomon Key Point Farm, LLC
Chadwick Companies, LLC
Bryans Road Corporation
Rev. Buehler, Chairman gave an overview of the requirements of all lobbyist as stated under § 170-8 of the Code of Ethics. The forms will be filed in the County Attorney’s Office until 30 days after the end of year at which time financial disclosure forms should be filed.
Ms. Weschler, Clerk, inquired of the Commission if they would like to review the Financial Disclosure Reports for 2015 at the next meeting. The Commission decided that this would be appropriate.
Ms. Weaver, County Attorney, discussed with the Commission several items that she will be addressing at future meetings including rules and procedures and Open Meetings Act training.
The next meeting is scheduled for July 27, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. in the Government Building Conference Room.
ADJOURNMENT: With no further business the meeting adjourned at 6:10 p.m.
Melody Weschler, Clerk