The Ethics Commission recently released their Annual Report for 2011. It is posted here on our website under “Documents.”
The Report both describes the functions of the Commission and gives a brief, but specific, account of their work.
They issued eight advisory opinions (seven regarding conflicts of interest, one regarding a gift), a follow-up order to the Circuit Court appeal of Complaint 10-01, and a Complaint (11-01) issued by the Ethics Commission regarding a possible violation of a conflict of interest provision which, following the hearing, the Commission found the subject was exempt from. It also issued three complaints for failure to file a financial disclosure form (see paragraph below), but the complaints were dismissed when the forms were submitted before the Ethics Commission took further action.
Ethics Matters asked the Ethics Commission for a definition of “recusal” after the Commission’s order that a member of the Planning Commission had an actual and apparent conflict of interest and should cease and desist in any activity as a member of the QAC Planning Commission that relates to the Queenstown Comprehensive Plan (an order subsequently affirmed by the Circuit Court). That definition can be found at here on our website under “Documents.”
The Commission reviewed for completeness 189 financial disclosure forms, required of some County employees, elected officials, and members of decision-making Boards and Commissions, as well as committees providing advice and/or recommendations regarding acquisition, zoning, or designation of land. It also reviewed 14 lobbyists’ registrations and 15 lobbyists’ year-end disclosure reports.
Due to the reduced number of new hires in County government, Commission member Robert Mueller offered only one presentation of the Ethics Code to new employees in September.
The Commission spent a great deal of time revising portions of the QAC Ethics Code to put it in compliance with a 2010 State law. The revision that was submitted to the County Commissioners in September 2011 turned out not to be the revision approved by the Ethics Commission, and in October 2011 the Ethics Commission had to amend their proposed revision. More recently, there has been some back and forth between the State and the QAC Ethics Commissions regarding the revisions. At their July 2012 meeting, the Ethics Commission completed further revisions and sent them off to the State. Once the State finds the proposed code in compliance, the new amended and revised code will be submitted to the County Commissioners.
In January, Robert Mueller was elected Chairman of the Commission. Kendall Ruffatto, Esq, who had served as the Commission’s Chair retired along with the Reverend Nanese Hawthorne. They were replaced by Robert Udoff and Dale Anderson, who was appointed as the alternate member. The Ethics Commission’s members are now Robert Mueller, chair, Hal Wilson, Dick Smith, Jody Schulz, Robert Udoff and Dale Anderson (alternate). Lynn Knight remains as counsel and Tina Miles as clerk.