Ethics Commissions 2008 Annual Report; EC Creates Committee on Lobbying Reporting @ 07 Apr 2009

Ethics Commission’s 2008 Annual Report

            Ethics Matters has just posted the Ethics Commission’s 2008 Annual Report on this website under Documents.  The Report reflects the thought and time this volunteer commission devotes to promoting ethical governance in our County.  They deserve our appreciation.

            The Commission continued its Education and Outreach Program by conducting a briefing session last March for members of County Boards and Commissions.  They also conducted sessions with all new employees of County departments in the spring and the fall.  These sessions had a particular emphasis on the conflicts and gift provisions of the County’s Ethics Law.

            Over the course of 2008, the County issued 31 written Advisory Opinions.  The opinions are the Commission’s interpretations of the Ethics Law as it applies to the facts of particular situations. The opinions are summarized in the Annual Report with identifying information redacted to the extent possible.  (They are also available in full on this website under Advisory Opinions.)

             It is interesting to note that in the year before, 2007, there were 20 Advisory Opinions issued. The Ethics Commission attributes the one-third increase to County employees’ and officials’ increased awareness of the law and their desire to comply with it.

            Two hundred and ninety-seven financial disclosure forms were received and reviewed for completeness by the Ethics Commission.  The Commission initiated 5 complaints for late filing or failing to file financial disclosure forums. All outstanding forms were subsequently filed and the complaints were terminated.

             The Commission also initiated a complaint in reference to the gifts provision of the law.  The employee “cured” the complaint and the complaint was terminated.

            In 2008, 21 individuals or organizations/businesses were identified on lobbying registration forms as lobbyists, although many of those did not in fact register.  The Commission received 16 year-end lobbying reports for 2007.

            In its conclusion to its Annual Report, the Ethics Commission complimented the integrity of Queen Anne’s County employees for bringing questions regarding their own actions forward so as to be certain that they are complying with the Ethics Law. 

 

Committee on Lobbying Reporting Created

At the Ethics Commission’s January 2009 meeting, Chairman Mueller appointed a committee of Ms. Ruffato, Mr. Tilghman and Mr. Jackson to look into ways to inform individuals and business/organizations about the lobbying provisions of the Ethics Law.  It is clear that some businesses/organizations and individuals are not in compliance with the law, perhaps because they are not aware of its requirements.


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