Minutes - October 24, 2018
CHARLES COUNTY ETHICS COMMISSION
Commissioners Meeting Room
October 24, 2018
Henry Collins, Chairman
Stephen Fitzgerald, Esquire, Vice Chairman
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 Collins at 5:06 p.m.
Mr. Collins inquired about the status of new members. Ms. Weaver advised the Commission that she had spoken with Ms. DeSoto regarding the vacancies on the Commission. Ms. DeSoto advised Ms. Weaver that the notices of the vacancies remain open but there have been no applications received. She will continue advertising for the vacancies as well as sending out a “hot” message through Media Services. Ms. DeSoto also suggested that members of the Commission speak with their colleagues and encourage them to apply. The Commission discussed the need for more members and the difficulty in conducting business with only four members. Mr. Fitzgerald advised that he would mention the vacancies at the next Bar Association meeting, as well as mentioning it at the Rotary Club meeting. Ms. Cotton advised that she would bring it up at the next Chamber meeting as well. Ms. Weaver advised the Commission that anybody interested in applying should contact Ms. DeSoto or the County Attorney’s Office.
Mr. Collins inquired about conducting a training session for newly elected/appointed officials after the election. Ms. Weaver advised the Commission that she had spoken to Mr. Mallinoff, County Administrator, about the training session. Mr. Mallinoff suggested that the ethics training be held separately from the orientation and it could be included in Ms. Weaver’s presentation at the department heads meeting before the new Commissioners. Ms. Weaver advised that she would put together a presentation for the Commission to review. She didn’t have a date of the meeting yet but would advise when she did.
Mr. Collins also inquired about appointed employees. Ms. Weaver advised that during orientation the HR Department conducts its own ethics training.
Ms. Weaver presented to the Commission a request to submit a legislative proposal to the County Administrator for presentation to the Commissioners as to when a Public Information Act Request is submitted for a Financial Disclosure Form submitted by an employee or County Commissioner. Financial Disclosure Forms contain the home address of the person and releasing this information could be a safety issue for the person with the information being placed on social media without any concern for confidentiality or safety of the person. Currently there is no exception in the law to redact the home address if requested through a PIA. The Commission had no objection to Ms. Weaver moving forward with drafting the legislative proposal and submitting to the Commission for review. After reviewing the proposal, the Commission had no objection to Ms. Weaver presenting the proposal to the Commissioners.
Ms. Weaver advised the Commission that a meeting should be set in January to review financial disclosure forms to be sent out for 2017. The Commission tentatively sent the next meeting for January 16, 2019 at 6 p.m.
A motion was made by Mr. Fitzgerald to approve the July 28, 2018 open meeting minutes with the changes as noted, seconded by Mr. Collins, unanimously carried.
A motion was made by Mr. Fitzgerald to go into closed session, seconded by Ms. Cotton, unanimously carried. The Commission went into closed session at 5:25 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 and (7) “To consult with counsel to obtain legal advice.” The matters related to personnel actions taken in response to completion of financial disclosure statements and legal advice regarding one submission.
At 5:30 p.m. a motion was made by Mr. Fitzgerald to go back into open session, seconded by Mr. Collins, unanimously carried.
With no further business Mr. Fitzgerald made motion to adjourn the meeting at 5:30 p.m., seconded by Mr. Collins, all in favor.
Melody Weschler, Clerk