Frederick County Executive moves forward with changes to Ethics Ordinance

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FREDERICK, Md. — Frederick County Executive, Jan Gardner announced her proposed revisions to the county Ethics Ordinance on Thursday. Her recommendations come after the Ethics Task Force she appointed submitted their final report in June.

Gardner’s proposed changes to the ordinance include making it a conflict of interest for an elected official, relative of an elected official, or business owned by an elected official to enter into a contract with the county. The violation would be a misdemeanor subject to a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment of up to six months or both.

She also proposed the Ethics Commission size increase from five to seven members for a two-term limit; the commission is granted power to administer oaths, issue subpoenas, provide judicial reinforcement of subpoenas, and reconsider advisory opinions.

She added a requirement that the name of the person found to have violated the ethics law be included in the commission’s written decision, and recommended a section be added prohibiting the retaliation against a complainant or witness.

Executive Gardner said the recent recommendations are to restore citizen trust in county government. “I believe that elected officials should be held to a high standard of conduct and that citizens should be confident that elected officials are making decisions in the best interest of the public good,” Gardner said.

The Frederick County Council will consider Gardner’s proposed revisions and include them in a bill. There will then be a public hearing on the recommendations to change the county’s ethics law.

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