Some Washington County residents believe the Washington County government could use improvements related to ethics.
“Our county government has struggled a little bit to handle ethical complaints in the last few years,“ said Kira Hamman, chair of Citizens Above Partisanship.
On Monday, Citizens Above Partisanship held a panel discussion with Cort Meinelschmidt, a county commissioner. Before Meinelschmidt came into office in November, he campaigned on improving the county’s ethics commission.
“Everyone wants you to be held to the highest ethical standards and I believe we need to increase what those standards are, and be held to those high standards,“ said Meinelschmidt.
The county currently has an ethics committee, which consists of five members. Those members are appointed by the county commissioners. Meinelschmidt doesn’t believe it’s appropriate for the commissioners to appoint who oversees them.
“So, what I’m proposing, is that we have five different stakeholders in the community each nominate to the county commissioners, so they can vote on it,“ said Meinelschmidt.
Meinelschmidt says he wants groups such as the Washington County Bar Association, the Chamber of Commerce and Mertius Medical Center, along with a few other groups to be the stakeholders.
It wasn’t that long ago when Leroy Myers, a former county commissioner, was accused by a former county employee of sexual harassment. Meinelschmidt wasn’t in office when that happened, but believes going forward there needs to be a change.
“The ethics commission was used a lot in the last couple of years and seeing how they were nominated and appointed was definitely a concern and that’s one of the reasons why I want to correct this,“ said Meinelschmidt.